Since soldiers often have to go through all kinds of places during a mission, and since they can't be expected to carry around a truckload of supplies, DARPA is thinking of giving them pack mules.
Not just any pack mules, though, but robotic ones. Mules that are essentially quadropod machines.
Only a prototype exists, for now, named LS3, which is the shortened form of Legged Squad Support System
It has its genesis in Boston Dynamic’s Big Dog and Alpha Dog robots and can carry 400lbs for 20 miles (a 24-hour journey, give or take) without refueling.
Sensors allow it to distinguish between people, trees, rocks and other obstacles the area may be littered with.
An 18-month test will start in July. If it is successful, an actual field exercise with the US Marines will follow.
Hearing sensors will eventually be added, for voice command recognition.