Way cool. DARPA is working on some amazing things. A robotic cheetah that currently can run 28 miles an hour. Also, a robotic pack mule that can walk over rough terrain, obey simple instructions, and follow its leader (master?) without instructions. It can right itself if it tips over. A dog that can walk across a rocky surface, up a 45% snow-covered hill, or carry 400 pounds:
Check out the National Geographic article, Animals Inspire New Breed of War Robots.
Check out the pack mule:
Check out the cheetah:
Check out the dog:
Look closely and you can think up lots of things to criticize. Like all the wires on the cheetah and apparent external power source. And, why not just buy a mule? Also, noise level is too high for use in a combat zone.
Look further and stretch your brain. This is the first round of things that could do a lot of astounding stuff. Another few years of development and our imagination is the limit. Look at the computer control over the cheetah’s hips, and the complexity of the dog’s leg movements while slipping on ice.
At the YouTube site, a commenter named Barbaroossa explains why a robotic pack mule would be better than a live mule:
Mules need to be domesticated, trained. And they usually run away at the slightest hint of a firefight, not to mention that they need to be fed, they get tired of hauling cargo uphill and downhill all day long. A robot is simply superior.