Those chilling dog robots now have deployable helicopters, too

New aged robots are wonderful, fascinating, and terrifying creatures. Our timeline has developed complex AI robots making brand new art alongside intimidating bots made for more physically robust actions, like dancing.

The dog style robots like Spot, popularised by Boston Dynamics have become an increasingly common build for traversal. Their four legged sturdiness combined with learning AIs and other tools has proven to make for very useful little mechanical beasties that are even helping to protect the ancient city of Pompeii.

The next logical step in the terrifying evolution of our soon to be robotic overlords is adding a deployable flying robot to your walking robot. According to Tech Explore, one such robot-in-a-robot was built by researchers to tackle navigating underground environments. Yo dawg, Xzibit would be proud. 

The combination bot that won the competition was built by team Cerberus from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and ETH Zürich's Robot Systems Lab as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency competition for subterranean exploration. The aim was to use both robots in tandem to assist each other with better navigation. As development continues, extra features like having the dog portion charge the flying robot for extended missions are also envisioned.

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"Our idea comes from a very simple concept: the complementarity of walking and flying robots," one of the researchers, Paolo De Petris explained. "We believe that in underground, perceptually degraded environments, the collaboration between a walking robot like ANYmal, which has awesome long operation time, high payload capability, communication to a ground station extension capability etc. but limited to ground operations, and a flying robot like RMF-Owl, results overall in a very efficient and logic exploration mission."

This isn't the first time we've seen a flying and walking robot combination. This year at the International Robot Exhibition we got a look at this rideable horse styled robot that can have drones land and take off from its back. Still with flying drones getting much stronger, the potential for deployable drones from an autonomous unit is just a little terrifying. You can even get a look at team Cerberus' open source docs if you're curious, but please, everyone, just be nice to the robots.

Hope Corrigan
Hardware Writer

Hope’s been writing about games for about a decade, starting out way back when on the Australian Nintendo fan site Since then, she’s talked far too much about games and tech for publications such as Techlife, Byteside, IGN, and GameSpot. Of course there’s also here at PC Gamer, where she gets to indulge her inner hardware nerd with news and reviews. You can usually find Hope fawning over some art, tech, or likely a wonderful combination of them both and where relevant she’ll share them with you here. When she’s not writing about the amazing creations of others, she’s working on what she hopes will one day be her own. You can find her fictional chill out ambient far future sci-fi radio show/album/listening experience podcast right here. No, she’s not kidding.