This Terrifying Robotic Dog Carries a Drone That Launches From its Back

By Mario Aguilar on at

The future of autonomous robots is inching ever-forward. You want proof? Look no further than this combination of drone and autonomous quadruped that has me both freaked out and scratching my head.

A new video illustrates a new concept for robo-drones. Remember BigDog, the unnervingly agile quadruped Terminator robot? Well, here we’ve got a smaller version of this type of marching quadruped; except this time, it’s got a quadcopter tethered to its back, which can take to the sky from its perch and then come back to nest. It’s almost like a bird that rides along on the back of a hippo.

The combination quadcopter-quadruped is the product of the Autonomous Systems Lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Having a little quadcopter attached to your ground robot could have many advantages. For example, the quadcopter could take to the the air to do visual recon. Or it could be deployed to retrieve something that’s out of reach for the ground bot. Perhaps one day we’ll use this frankendrone for more mundane purposes, like retrieving cats from trees.

Future: We await you. [IEEE Spectrum via Popular Mechanics]