Robots on Mount Washington

2013-07-03 18:06:56.000 – Cyrena Briede,  Director of Summit Operations

LS3 and I on the Summit

The Mount Washington Observatory has been utilized in the past for product testing, and why not? For some conditions such as high elevation, high winds, cold temperatures, and icing conditions, it’s something we are a natural fit for. Companies have brought up everything from tents to dialysis machines to test with us. This past Thursday, though, was a first for us: robots.

We were joined by robotics company Boston Dynamics to test their LS3 robot at a high elevation. This robot is legged and walks around like a horse or mule. It’s designed to go where Marines go on foot and is able to carry 400 lbs of gear, helping to reduce the load soldiers are carrying. It’s smart enough that it doesn’t need a driver and can automatically follow a leader. Thanks to cooperation between the Mount Washington Auto Road and the Mount Washington State Park, we were able to have LS3 and Boston Dynamics join us at the Observatory for some scientific testing in one of the lower parking lots on the summit.

The day started with a 7:00am drive up the Auto Road, before it was open to the public, because we had to get a 26 foot long moving truck to the summit without any other traffic. The fog was so thick at the summit, we couldn’t even see the edge of the parking lot. As the testing began, the clouds broke and we were able to get some fantastic views and great photos of LS3 on the summit. The forecast called for rain but we really lucked out, the weather held for the entire day, and Boston Dynamics was able to run a lot of tests. They drew a crowd from time to time but it was great to see how respectful everyone was of the work being done and kept a safe distance. After all tests were complete, we made the long trip down the Auto Road after it was closed to the public at 7:00pm. We had to make sure we took our time and didn’t let the brakes get too hot on this large truck as we descended. An hour later, we made it to the base safe and sound.

 

Cyrena Briede,  Director of Summit Operations

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