Check out these cool pictures of the Marines' new robotic horse (Gallery)

Check out these cool pictures of the Marines' new robotic horse (Gallery)

Summary: This article is a companion piece to Marines test giant autonomous headless horsebot, published in ZDNet government.


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Topics: Government, Government US


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • PBS / Nova had this subject in one of it's episodes ...

    if you want more information and video.
  • Why dont just buy real horses

    Why waist tons of millions of money with theses robots when you can buy working horses and train them to do exactly the same thing but instead of costing $1 million each it will cost you what? $10,000 at most?
    • Partly, because it's probably easier to store the food in

      50 gallon drums instead of giant bales of hay. But you do have a point. A six-wheeled electric ATV can carry as much weight, have enough range for infantry on foot, is cheaper, a whole lot more mechanically reliable, and more resistant to small arms fire, and a whole heck of a lot quieter. The last thing you want on a recon, or an infantry march is a screaming lawnmower engine you can hear five miles away.
      • They just can't climb some terrain as well

        as a 4 or 6 legged animal/machine can
        • Climbing

          A "real" horse is also much quieter. And might even express some compassion for the failed soldier..
          At worst, you could use them for food.
        • Every piece of terrain the device moved over

          in the demo video was perfectly navigable by a wheeled or tracked vehicle.
    • re:

      Simple. The profits a defense contractor makes off of one of these vastly exceeds that to be made off of horse breeding.
      Sir Name
    • Partial answer

      1. This is a development test bed. Other devices will recycle refinements from this technology. Darpa has future plans.
      2. Live horses don't automatically deliver/pickup supplies based on GPS coordinates. They cannot be shut-down for transport to anywhere on the globe. They don't like to be air dropped.
      3. Horses cannot be augmented with automated weapon systems.
      4. Nobody cries when a mechanical mules gets shot, repaired, and sent back to get shot again.
      • Re: Horses cannot be augmented

        Who knows... might be possible with some DNA manipulation. :)
  • cool, hah?

    it's psychopatic and horrible, and i wander what kind of mind can call this cool.
    • Why is that?

      How is this psychopathic and horrible? Obviously they chose the design from nature because it works rather well.

      Would you rather they sent real horses, or just use something with wheels because you don't get 4 wheeled animals in nature?
  • Seriously?

    Is it April 1st already?
    Sir Name
  • If the terrorists watched the Empire Strikes Back

    They'll learn exactly how to defeat robotic horses. :)
    • By the way

      There was an rather funny Turkish variation of Star Wars.
    • Size matters

      The gigantic Hothian "creepers" (or whatever they were called) were clearly vulnerable to guerilla tactics, as were Tolkien's Mumakil ("oliphants"). Smaller machines would be much less so.
      John L. Ries
  • Check out these cool pictures of the Marines' new robotic horse (Gallery)

    It has its uses of carrying gear and not having to worry about feeding it. My concerns would be how reliable they are. Also what the enemy would think when they see one of these galloping along. New tales will be born.
    • What would the enemy think?

      If the enemy were ordinary Afghans, they'd think of Buzkashi:

      The only question is whether a captured LS3 would be used in a game of Buzkashi as a horse or a goat.

      P.S. Note that Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban when they were in power.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
    • "New tales will be born"

      Why so? Anybody we're likely to fight will be as smart as we are; perhaps not as wealthy or technically sophisticated, but definitely as intelligent.
      John L. Ries
  • The problem with a horse...

    1) they can get shot.
    2) they get scared and trample one or more soldiers.
    3) they get hungry.
    4) you can't armor a horse.
    5) you can't mount a machine gun on a horse.
    6) food for a horse occupies twice the volume (or more) of a horse.. every day
    7) horses get tired.
    • and one more...

      They're alive
      Maria Davidenko