We first brought you Cujo last year, when the beast, then called WildCat, chugged down a parking lot and popped up in our nightmares for months afterward. Now he is a Google dog, as the company that made him, Boston Dynamics, was bought by the tech company, as one is. Now Cujo is being field tested with U.S. Marines in Hawaii, and he is quite a sight.
Nicknamed Cujo by his fellow soldiers — hat tip on the name, Marines — the dog can walk and run over rugged terrain, following a soldier while carrying 400 pounds and maneuvering around large objects, according to the Daily Mail. Cujo is a pack mule, basically, but one who can scare enemies back to bed.
One of his main acts in the Hawaii training sessions was to bring water and supply to various platoons in the training area, many of which were located in rough terrain that could not be accessed by all-terrain vehicles.
“I was surprised how well it works,” Lance Cpl. Brandon Dieckmann, who controls the dog, told the Daily Mail. “I thought it was going to be stumbling around and lose its footing, but it’s actually proven to be pretty reliable and pretty rugged. It has a bit of a problem negotiating obliques and contours of hills.”
Thus far, the robot is being used as a logistical tool rather than a tactical tool, because of its loud operating noise. It also can’t be guaranteed not to get bogged down.
“I’d say 70 to 80 percent of the terrain we go through, it can go through,” Dieckmann said. “There are times when it is going to fall over, but most of the time it can self-right and get back up on its own.”
And even if it can’t right itself, Cujo can be easily rolled back over by a soldier.
According to a Ben Spies, a contractor with Boston Dynamics, getting Cujo into the hands of the military will greatly improve his future performance.
“We give the military hands-on so we can see what they will use it for instead of putting it in a parking lot,” he told the Mail. “It helps us develop it more, because right now, only the engineers have it.”
Via the Daily Mail
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