China Shows Off Drone That Drops Robodog With Huge Gun Anywhere
Comment of the Day

October 11 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

China Shows Off Drone That Drops Robodog With Huge Gun Anywhere

This article from The Byte may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

A video has gone viral of a large drone dropping off a gun-wielding robot dog, a terrifying vision of what the future of warfare and policing could soon look like.

The footage shows a sizable octocopter drone dropping off its armed payload on a rooftop in an urban area. The robodog then springs to life and stretches its legs.

The robot appears to be carrying a modified, semiautomatic assault rifle, which has been the service rifle for the People's Liberation Army and paramilitary agencies in China since 1995.

The clip was shared by an account called Kestrel Defense Blood-Wing on Chinese social media. According to a rough Google translation of the account's description of the video, "war dogs" that "descend from the sky" can be "directly inserted into the weak links behind the enemy to carry out surprise attacks," be delivered "to the top of enemy buildings," or provide fire suppression.

Eoin Treacy's view

Boston Dynamics has committed to not developing weapons, but they are certainly inspiring copycats. This kind of picture is designed to instill fear. It does not get over the issue Boston Dynamics has with battery life. A robot dog like that, has 90 minutes of usability before it runs down. Carrying a gun, it would be even less. At that point they had better explode or they will quickly be repurposed to fire back at an invading force.

A better battery solves a lot of use case issues for all manner of problems. It isn’t only the automotive sector that is looking to develop the next generation long life/energy dense design.

Meanwhile satellite launch costs continue to trend lower. SpinLaunch just signed a deal with NASA to launch satellites using its kinetic launch system. Here is a section from a related story 

It works by attaching a reusable rocket to a giant rotating arm in an electric vacuum-sealed centrifuge and spinning it at several times the speed of sound.

The rocket is then released and shoots to space to release payloads such as satellites into low-Earth orbit. It can then return to Earth to be reused for further launches.

The whopping launch machine, which is located in Spaceport America in New Mexico, measures 165 feet (50.4 metres) – slightly taller than the Statue of Liberty (150 feet, or 46 metres).

Not every satellite can be launched in this manner but many smaller designs will be. That's not good news for SpaceX. Meanwhile SpinLaunch's series B funding round is currently in the Republic deal room for qualified investors. 

Technological innovation generally accelerates during times of geopolitical stress because countries compete for advantage. Russia’s experience in Ukraine highlights the fact the wars of today are already unlike those of the past. Wars of the future will be even more different but the potential for significant civilian casualties continues to rise.

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