Everybody's favourite robotics mad scientists Boston Dynamics have a new prototype walking donkey-bot. And it's amazing.
The semi-autonomous robot walks on four legs, is able to carry a load of up to 400 pounds and navigate many different types of tricky terrain, without falling over - or falling behind.
The new version of the Legged Squad Support System - a concept which has a long and interesting history - is able to run on diesel fuel, paving the way for its eventual deployment by the US military in 2015.
It is slightly larger than the two previous prototypes, according to Defense News, but should be able to interact more "intuitively" with marines.
The robotic mule is now on what amounts to a press tour, finishing up by participating in something called the 'Advanced Warfighting Exercise' taking place in Hawaii in 2014.
America's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has recently invested another $10 million in the project.
Boston Dynamics describe the robot on their website:
"S3 is a rough-terrain robot designed to go anywhere Marines and Soldiers go on foot, helping carry their load. Each LS3 carries up to 400 lbs of gear and enough fuel for a 20-mile mission lasting 24 hours. LS3 automatically follows its leader using computer vision, so it does not need a dedicated driver. It also travels to designated locations using terrain sensing andGPS. LS3 began a 2-year field testing phase in 2012. LS3 isfunded by DARPA and the US Marine Corps."