A four-legged walking robot bearing a striking resemblance to the Big Dog robot commissioned by the U.S. military was recently showcased by a Chinese arms manufacturer.
China’s new robot is called the Mountainous Bionic Quadruped Robot, but it is being dubbed “Da Gou,” which is simply Mandarin for Big Dog. The counterfeit bot is being manufactured by the Chinese regime’s state-owned China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO).
The original Big Dog robot, manufactured by Boston Dynamics, was commissioned by the Pentagon on January 26, 2010. The U.S. military’s research and development branch, DARPA, was granted $32 million to build a prototype. Work on the robots, which can carry supplies for ground troops over rough terrain, has continued since then.
Apparently, somewhere along the line China also began work on their own version of the robot.
NORINCO showed off its version of the robot during an August robotics expo. The counterfeit is nearly identical to the original, at least in terms of design.
Popular Science posted some of the specs, which say it weighs around 286 lbs., moves at around 3.7 miles-per-hour, and carries 66 lbs. Compared to the Boston Dynamics Big Dog, it still has a ways to go. It weighs 240 lbs., moves around 4 miles-per-hour, and carries 340 lbs.
Counterfeit weapons aren’t new to NORINCO. They sell a very long list of counterfeit firearms. The NORINCO CQ is copy of the U.S. M-16A1. The NORINCO Type 56 assault rifle is a copy of the Russian AK-47. Its NR-08 submachine gun is a copy of the German MP5. The list goes on.
Photos of the NORINCO Da Gou are making rounds on Chinese military blogs, yet there don’t seem to be any videos yet of the robot in action.
China had previously shown off a similar Big Dog counterfeit. In January 2013, the center for robotics at Shandong University showed a similar work in progress (video below).
The video shows researchers shoving the robot with their feet as it walks, in order to demonstrate its ability to recover from a stagger. A similar demonstration was shown by Boston Dynamics, where a researcher pushed the Big Dog with his foot. Theirs allegedly weighs 271 lbs., moves 1.4 miles-per-hour, and carries 110 lbs.
Here’s a video of the original Big Dog robot from Boston Dynamics:
Boston Dynamics and NORINCO did not immediately respond to questions sent by email. This article will be updated if a response from either is received.