Robot dog with machine gun hints of a dystopian future

While Boston Dynamics show off their robot’s dance moves, others turn similar-looking devices into dystopian killing machines.

Much like their flesh-made cousins, robot dogs do not lack attention on the internet. Many have seen the footage of Spot, a high-tech quadruped developed by the US-based company Boston Dynamics, flaunting its dance moves.

However, the latest addition to the robot dog content stream looks like something out of a science fiction movie. Twitter user Sean Chiplock shared a video of someone in Russia firing a gun from a quadruped robot.

Even though the post’s author discusses robots Boston Dynamics make, the one seen in the video is not made by the American company. As Sean Gallagher, a Senior Threat Researcher at Sophos points out, the robot dog is of Chinese origin.

The design of the robot looks a lot like Go1 robot dog Unitree Robotics makes. For example, the back side of the device in the video exhibits a distinct pattern on a plastic covering between its hind legs. A similar design is visible on devices in Unitree’s promotional material.

The Hangzhou-based company is selling the Go1 model of the robot for $2,700 on its website, a fraction of over $75k that American-made Spot would cost its owner.

While the robot doesn’t seem to handle recoil very well with the gun on ‘burst fire’ mode, switching to a ‘semi-automatic’ setting allows the robot to hit targets without moving around too much.

The robot in the video has patches on its surfaces with insignia associated with the Russian military: a Russian flag on one side and what seems to be a Wolf, which Russian special forces use.

The original video was posted on Youtube by Moscow-resident Alexander Atamanov.

Robot dog 'Spot' from Boston Dynamics. Image by Shutterstock.

Use in conflict

Recently reports came out that the US Army had agreed to send one of its two Boston Dynamic-made robot dogs to Ukraine, where it will carry out demining operations around the capital Kyiv.

The robot dog will help an American non-profit HALO Trust remove unexploded ordnance, including cluster munitions, and drag them to be safely exploded in batches far from civilians.

Although Boston Dynamics prohibits using the Spot platform as a weapon, its possible application for military and law-enforcement purposes is evident.

The robot dog trained alongside French troops in a reconnaissance exercise earlier this spring. However, its employment in the NYPD ended quickly last year after the public deemed it too creepy.

Fears that robot dogs will be used against humans have been vocal for several years. Most notably, a cult anthology TV series Black Mirror dedicated a whole episode, Metalhead, to the device in 2017.

The plot follows a group of humans hunted by a robot dog. Series creator Charlies Brooker said the inspiration for the episode came after he saw one of Boston Dynamics’ promotional videos.

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prefix 1 year ago
I remember when the nerds and darpa said - this would never be the case because - there is no humanity in a robot with guns - and it takes the horror of war out of war
my how cowards and times change their minds when money greases the wheels of death
prefix 1 year ago
I mean, we're in a pretty dystopian present.
fool-ly funded
prefix 1 year ago
DARPA isn't interested in hippie peacenig uses
Mick Savage
prefix 1 year ago
Now you know why they really want to ban your AR-15.
prefix 1 year ago
Release the dogs of war!
prefix 1 year ago
At least it won't bite Secret Service agents.
Jon Abrams
prefix 1 year ago
I had a toy just like this in the 80s. It was a Transformer named "Ravage"
Fred Flintstone
prefix 1 year ago
Trip wires, rope or cable nets, collapsing walls, all effective measures against this machine.
Larry Turner
prefix 1 year ago
This thing doesn't seem to be very effective at handling the weapon, at all. It looks as accurate at shooting the gun as a Star War's Storm Trooper, while as easy to kill as a Trekkie with a red shirt on.
The only thing it really appears to be effective at is looking creepy.
K. W.
prefix 1 year ago
If we can send one in to take out shooters playing suicide by cop, let's roll.
prefix 1 year ago
Can't compensate for recoil.
Robo Steve
prefix 1 year ago
Just send a Robo Cat into the Robo Dog’s path and Robo Dog will be gone.
prefix 1 year ago
I noticed that too. That's a massive weakness. Any adversary can take cover until the barrel is up, then boom with an RPG.

Bye Robodog.
Scott Hutcherson
prefix 1 year ago
Roscoe P. Coltraine
prefix 1 year ago
Mostly because the gun is top-mounted and the recoil is harder to manage. Give them time and a re-design will fix that.
prefix 1 year ago
they will work that out maybe with hydraulics
Philip Caan
prefix 1 year ago
Significant EMP and Fido Robo will play dead… if someone can build it, you can unbuild it.
prefix 1 year ago
Compensated for easily enough with built in faraday mesh, etc. At that point it just comes down to who has the best and most workarounds for measures and countermeasures.
Scott Hutcherson
prefix 1 year ago
How many EMP's do you have in your arsenal?
Oh, zero. That's what I thought.
John James
prefix 1 year ago
But an EMP that kills this will also kill anything else electronic in the vicinity. So you can only use that as an effective weapon when operating in enemy territory.
Ward JC
prefix 1 year ago
I welcome this development. But, it needs a police bopper or nightstick to bop Left Wing agitators and BLM demonstrators and soften them prior to transferral to prison camp.
prefix 1 year ago
:D True
What could possibly go wrong here?
Trudeau was marching over citizens on mobility scooters with live horses (and zombi police on them). They really LOVE us, this is about our HEALTH - RIGHT?
prefix 1 year ago
Once it becomes self-aware, we are ALL screwed!!
Vox Veritatis
prefix 1 year ago
It can't even handle the recoil from a burst. Not to mention how easy it is to take out.

Decades of work and that's the best they can do?
prefix 1 year ago
Every new tech has this growth curve. Incredibly slow in developing, but once it is functioning the bugs get worked out fairly quickly.
prefix 1 year ago
This is just the beginning. In a decade or two, weaponized robots will be far more sophisticated and deadly. AI and robotics are still in very early stages of development. We don't often see stories like this, but you can be sure that militaries around the world are dumping billions into advanced mechanized warfare research. In the not too distant future, intelligent machines will not only take our jobs, but they will also kill with an efficiency few are anticipating today.
Your mom
prefix 1 year ago
Baby terminator
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