large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

US military: Sorry Google, we don’t want your robot dogs

Following years of testing and multi-million dollar investment, the US Military has announced it has shelved plans to deploy Google’s robotic dogs due to noise concerns.

Known as ‘the big dog’, the Legged Squad Support System (LS3) was designed in partnership with Boston Dynamics, a robotics company owned by Google.

The machines, also referred to as robotic mules, are capable of carrying up to 400 pounds (181kg) of weight and can follow soldiers through varying terrain.

But according to the US Marines, the engine which powers the big dogs is too loud and could give away troops’ positions.

Related: 2016: The Year of the Geek

Kyle Olson, a spokesman for the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, told “As Marines were using it, there was the challenge of seeing the potential possibility because of the limitations of the robot itself.

“They took it as it was: a loud robot that’s going to give away their position.”

The petrol-powered engine, said to sound like a lawnmower, was not the only concern raised by the military.

Other problems include how to repair the machines, and how to integrate them into traditional Marine patrol.

Related: The Tech Highs and Lows of 2015

LS3 was the result of a 2010 contract between the Pentagon’s research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and Boston Dynamics.

The project cost around $42 million (£28 million) in total.

After problems with the big dog became apparent, a smaller, quieter, electric-powered alternative known as ‘Spot’ was developed.

However, the US military has also shelved ‘Spot’ which could only carry weight of up to 40 pounds (18kg).

Google has long said it will move away from its military contracts although the Military’s Warfighting lab continues to experiment with other unmanned machines.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.