Finally... a Conservative Unitarian Universalist Member Blogging As You Asked! After so many years of singing around the campfire, the call has been answered!
Interesting. The geek in me is fascinated and I'm sure my sons will be.But... wouldn't a mule be superior (no gas--logistical issues, and a heck of a lot quieter)?
To say nothing of a lot less expensive. . . What's is this 'Big Dog' if not The Six Million Dollar Mule? ;-)
I can see advantages of this over a mule. First, remember that this is a prototype- I'm sure the production model will have a muffler! As far as logistical issues go, remember that even if you had time to let a mule forage, (doubtful), you will often be in places (mountains of Afghanistan?) or conditions (like snow covered) that make forage inadeguate. If you have to haul your fuel, gas is far more energy dense and easy to carry than hay- and the robot doesn't need to be fed when it's not in use. Pack animals also take a lot of care and tending- if you've worked with horses, you'll know what I mean. Also, the mechanical mule won't tire, can be sent autonomously with GPS guidance, cannot be stolen like a mule if the operating system is password protected, is less susceptable to battle damage and easier to fix if it does take a hit. Probably future models can be armed for autonomous combat missions, like the Hellfire equiped Predator AUV.
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