The BigDogs — four-legged robots that can navigate the country's treacherous terrain — and pilotless helicopters than can transport tons of supplies to very remote bases are just two of the new weapons being tested in Afghanistan.
The war zone is increasingly becoming a development laboratory for machines that don't eat, sleep, polish their boots or suffer casualties. But can they succeed where man struggles?
It takes a moment for the senses even to comprehend BigDogs, a four-legged robot that vaguely resembles a headless pack animal.
It can carry loads of up to 120 pounds, amble along at 3.3 miles per hour, climb hills, and can follow a path by itself via stereo vision or be controlled via remote. It's BigDog, the gasoline-powered, gyro-stabilized, 2.3-foot tall, 165-pound pack mule of the future. BigDog is being developed by defense contractors Boston Dynamics, and will, we assume, be the best pal for the robot army of the future. And just for the record, we're pretty confident that BigDog could take down any spare Aibos that Sony has left lying around.