An electric-powered quadruped bionic robot independently developed by China displays its strong adaptative capability by operating in a desert. The robot, dubbed a mechanical yak, it the world's largest, heaviest and most off-road-capable of its kind. (Photo/Screenshot from China Central Television)
China has developed the world's largest electric-powered quadruped bionic robot, which is expected to join logistics delivery and reconnaissance missions in complex environments that have proven too challenging for human soldiers, including remote border regions and highly risky combat zones, analysts said on Sunday.
Walking on four legs and boasting a yak-like appearance - which has led some to dub it as a mechanical yak - the robot independently developed by China is the world's largest, heaviest and most off-road-capable of its kind, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Friday.
Judging from the report clips, the machine is more than half as tall as an adult while walking, and its length is about two times its height.
It can carry up to 160 kilograms, and despite its large size, it can run at up to 10 kilometers an hour, CCTV reported.
The mechanical yak is equipped with sensors to be aware of the surrounding terrain and environment, and it has displayed a very strong adaptative ability to various types of terrains including steps, trenches and cliffs, not to mention muddy roads, grasslands, deserts and snow fields, the report said.
Thanks to 12 sets of joint modules, the robot can move forward and backward, turn, walk diagonally, sprint, dash and jump in a stable manner, the report said.
The quadruped bionic robot can be deployed to deliver supplies including munitions and food in environments like plateaus, mountains, deserts and forests where normal vehicles have difficult time traversing, CCTV said.
Another potential use is close-in reconnaissance, as it can persistently gather battlefield intelligence and monitor target movements even in complex environments that have proven to be too challenging for human soldiers, CCTV said.
The robot is a very good choice for missions in remote border regions where constant monitoring is needed but conditions do not favor a constant human presence, for example, in high altitude plateaus, icy regions and dense forests, a Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Sunday.
It will also play a vital role in highly risky combat zones, as it can replace some human scouts and delivery teams and reduce casualties, the expert said.
If needed, the robot could also be equipped with weapons and conduct armed reconnaissance missions, just like an aerial drone, but only on the ground, the expert said.
The mechanical yak is not the only quadruped bionic robot China has developed. Another example is a bionic mechanical dog named Geda, CCTV reported.
The machine dog is just about the size of a real one. It weighs 32 kilograms, but can carry a full load of 40 kilograms of goods, the report said.
Geda is programmed to understand simple voice commands and use facial recognition, CCTV reported, noting that it has passed tests to traverse forests, rocky roads, narrow passages and single-plank bridges.
China is expected to develop more types of bionic robots and make use of their advantages in combat, analysts said.