Marines take a big, mechanical dog for a Va. walk

WASHINGTON – Marines took a “Big Dog” for a walk in the Virginia woods recently, but it wasn’t your average canine.

The “Big Dog” is a mechanical pack mule undergoing trials by the U.S. Marine Corps to see if it could successfully carry equipment for foot soldiers and marines over a variety of distances and terrains.

The robot, designed by Massachusetts company Boston Dynamic, is said to carry up to 400 pounds for 20 miles before needing to refuel. To know where it’s going, the machine can either use computer vision to “follow the leader,” or can travel to pre- set destinations using GPS.

The new technology was recently tested in Fort Myers, Va. It will be refined and retested over the next two years before heading out with the troops for further tests. But if all goes well, the “Big Dog’s” future looks bright.

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