This is AlphaDog, the next generation of BigDog, the creepiest and most awesome quadruped robot of all time. The damn thing is now smarter and can stand up on its own when it's down. Like a real horse.
Which is exactly what it looks and sounds like. A robotic, creepy version of a horse that can be kicked and pushed without falling down.
Like BigDog, AlphaDog is being developed by Boston Dynamics and funded by DARPA and the US Marine Corps. The first version will be completed in 2012. It will be capable of carrying 400 pounds of payload over 20-mile missions in rough terrain. This video shows a test during the early stages of development.
The robot will not be this silent. This is a lab prototype running on external power. Marc Raibert, founder and CEO of Boston Dynamics, told me AlphaDog will be over ten times quieter than BigDog:
We are making a major effort to make the actual robot much quieter than BigDog, over 10x quieter, though not 'silent'. AlphaDog's engine will be a 4-stroke, which is inherently quieter than BigDog's 2-stroke (think chain saw), but we have also added an engine enclosure that quiets it further. We have an engine with enclosure running in a sound chamber as part of the development process.
There are more new cool robots coming from Boston Dynamic. Raibert says there's more exciting stuff to come "as soon as we get approvals for releasing it."