People are losing their minds this morning after a video was spotted online showing off a robot dog firing an assault rifle. Of course, this is the internet so you’ll most likely believe anything you see, especially if it’s on Facebook. I have some bad news for you – the robot dog you have sat all morning watching as it shot at targets is actually quite a flimsy and pathetic contraption in comparison to another robot dog with a machine gun that has been around for a much longer time.
Let’s get one thing out the way first. Skynet hasn’t created a dog that will chase you down the neighbourhood shooting at your feet. The robot dog seen in the video is actually just a flimsy toy designed by a Russian hoverbike startup owner named Alexander Atamanov. The robot gun dog contraption was put together in March this year. Atamanov simply took an existing Unitree dogbot (which has actually been around for ages already) and strapped an assault rifle to it.
You also need to realize that there’s no real proof that this dog shoots the gun itself. In fact, Atamanov loves experimenting with all sorts of robot contraptions and he has a knack (and sort of love) for military equipment. The dog could simply be remotely controlled by an end user and the mechanisms on the side of the robot are then used to apply pressure to the trigger resulting in it being fired. He shared a high-res photo of the dog on his Facebook page here.
Yes, I know that Atamanov’s robot dog is called ‘Skynet’ but it is just a little playful fun at this point. Is he going to take over the world with his custom Unitree dogbots? Probably not but it is cool to see what he cooks up. Seems like something straight out of Battlefield 2042.
Speaking of which, if you had to worry about a robot dog equipped with a machine gun, you should pay attention to this real threat. In October last year, a Vision 60 unit built by US firm Ghost Robotics announced a real killing machine called SPUR (special purpose unmanned rifle). Believe it or not but this Quadrupedal machine has been designed from the ground up to be a ruthless robot and is not just a Unitree dogbot with a rifle strapped to its back.
The SPUR comes packed with 30x optical zoom, and thermal camera sensors for targeting in the dark and can shoot anything in its way for up to 1,200 meters.
Ghost Robotics is actually making these and selling them privately. You can get them as a standalone dog unit or opt for the gun and robot model. There’s an entire website dedicated to these robots and you can even request a quote for one. The website gives us a little more detail on this machine:
The SWORD Defense Systems Special Purpose Unmanned Rifle (SPUR™) was specifically designed to offer precision fire from unmanned platforms such as the Ghost Robotics Vision-60 quadruped. Featuring safe, chamber, clear, and fire capabilities that allows for safe and reliable deployment of the weapon system – providing the operator an ability to load and safe the weapon at a distance. These features also provide the operator the ability to clear malfunctions, and safely unload the platform prior to recovery. Chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor allows for precision fire out to 1200m, the SPUR™ can similarly utilize 7.62×51 NATO cartridge for ammunition availability. Due to its highly capable sensors the SPUR™ can operate in a multitude of conditions, both day and night. The SWORD Defense Systems SPUR™ is the future of unmanned weapon systems, and that future is now.
So before your aunty starts to freak out on WhatsApp about dogs taking over the world because she just watched the video going around online, remember, military arms companies have been doing this for years already. Atamanov’s robot dog is nothing compared to the real dangers out there.