A video going viral on Twitter seems like a scene from a sci-fi movie. The video depicts a robot dog firing a sub-machine gun into a bull’s-eye target outdoors. The location of the video isn’t provided, but there is snow on the ground.
According to Vice, the robot does not appear to be from Boston Dynamics Spot, which makes a security robot dog.
Here are five things to know
1. Robot dog aims and fire
The dog in the video is strapped with a machine gun that it can aim and shoot. No detail is given in the video about how the machine gun dog works. It is unclear if someone is commanding the robot dog or if it is shooting on its own.
2. What breed is robot dog?
The type of robot dog is also unclear. It could be a UnitreeYusu “technology dog” selling on AliExpress for about $3,000, Vice reported.
Boston Dynamics has already announced it wouldn’t sell its dogs to people who intend to use them as weapons. The defense contractor Ghost Robotics has a robot dog with a gun pod built onto its back, which has to have a person operate the weapons manually.
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3. Russian connection
In a close-up of the robot in the video, strips of Velcro can be seen on either of its sides. On the left side, there is a small Russian flag. The gun strapped on the robot dog is also Russian, possibly a PP-19 Vityaz, a submachine gun based on the AK-74 design, Vice reported.
4. About the poster
The social media account the video originally appeared on was the YouTube account of Alexander Atamov on March 22, 2022. According to his LinkedIn profile, he is the founder of “HOVERSURF.” On his Facebook page, where posted a picture of the robot dog on March 21, it indicates he lives in Moscow. The Facebook post also says the “dog” is named “Skynet.”
5. Police and robot dogs
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) recently terminated its contract with Boston Dynamics following backlash over its use of the robot dog in policing.
The robot dog, known as “Digidog,” was part of the $94,000-deal with Boston Dynamics. Some police reform advocates said the use of the “dog” was linked to police funding cuts and the increased militarization of policing in general, Business Insider reported.
The robots were first introduced in December 2020 with the purpose to “save lives, protect people, and protect offices,” Technical Assistance Response Unit Inspector Frank Digiacomo told ABC7.
The Digidog weighs 70 lbs and can run approximately three and a half miles per hour. It can climb stairs, survey dangerous areas, and help offices identify dangers at crime scenes, NPR reports. The program was mainly undergoing trials in the Bronx.
In February 2021, a viral video of the futuristic dog patrolling a Bronx neighborhood after NYPD officers responded to a hostage situation sparked outrage.
Photo: Alexander Atamanov Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=4887059611370928&set=a.133430323400571