DARPA's Alpha Dog robot is Big Dog on steroids

The Cheetah robot has already been overtaken — the weight-carrying Alpha Dog from DARPA and Boston Dynamics is now (ahem) the leader of the pack.

The Cheetah robot has already been overtaken — the weight-carrying Alpha Dog from DARPA and Boston Dynamics is now (ahem) the leader of the pack.

Alpha Dog applying some of its "local perception" abilities. (Credit: DARPA)

Just days after Cheetah hit a new robotic speed record of 45.5km/h, thus moving the hands on the Robot Doomsday Clock one trembling minute closer to midnight, DARPA and Boston Dynamics have once again proven their worth to our future mechanical overlords.

Alpha Dog is more technically known as the Legged Squad Support System (LS3), and is designed to be a "highly mobile, semi-autonomous" robot capable of carrying around 180kg for up to 20 miles (32km) without refuelling. The "semi-autonomous" part refers to the fact that LS3 can be programmed with a set of GPS co-ordinates, before trundling off to make its own way there thanks to its in-built sat-nav capabilities.

The latest video from Boston Dynamics (below) shows the weighted-down Alpha Dog negotiating tricky terrain, following a soldier in the field and — horrifyingly — standing up from lying on its side.

It may not have the pace of Cheetah, but its sheer size, coupled with the distinctive "wrong-footed" movement of the Big Dog and Alpha Dog robots, still make it the stuff of nightmares as far as we're concerned.

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