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RPG Launcher-Carrying Robodog Dubbed M-81 Is Probably a Useless Toy
How do you like your morning (or afternoon or whatever part of the day you happen to be reading this in) brew with a dash of gloom and a serving of conspiracy? Russia’s brand new M-81 armed robodog is probably just a harmless toy that you can turn off with a sprinkle of water.

RPG Launcher-Carrying Robodog Dubbed M-81 Is Probably a Useless Toy

M-81 is said to be Russia's newest weapon, a robodog with an RPG launcher strapped to its backM-81 is said to be Russia's newest weapon, a robodog with an RPG launcher strapped to its backM-81 is said to be Russia's newest weapon, a robodog with an RPG launcher strapped to its backM-81 is said to be Russia's newest weapon, a robodog with an RPG launcher strapped to its backM-81 is said to be Russia's newest weapon, a robodog with an RPG launcher strapped to its backM-81 is said to be Russia's newest weapon, a robodog with an RPG launcher strapped to its back
The Army-22 trade show took place outside of Moscow, in Russia, earlier this week, with President Vladimir Putin himself in attendance to declare that Mother Russia had weapons and technology years, “if not decades,” ahead of every other state in the world. At the same event, the future of warfare was presented, and it brought together robotics, AI, and high tech, with a bow on it in the shape of an RPG launcher.

That future was dubbed M-81, a robodog with a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launcher strapped on its back. You can see it in demo mode in the video at the bottom of the page, trotting around the venue in full ninja disguise.

M-81 is described in state-owned media as a “robotic system, capable of conducting aimed shooting and transporting weapons,” which can also be “used in the emergency zone for reconnaissance, passage through rubble and delivery of medicines.” It’s developed by a company called Intellect Machine, can operate on all kinds of terrain and weather conditions, and is pretty much the ideal piece of unmanned combat equipment: versatile, reliable, fast, and powerful.

Eh. The Insider, an independent Russian outlet that usually exposes fake news run by state-owned media, says that M-81 is nothing short of a toy. The ninja outfit on it is actually meant to hide the fact that this is a Go1 robot dog from Unitree, a “technology dog” that can carry small loads, is very vulnerable to hacking, and is useless on rough terrain, mud or wet ground. A toy, in fewer words.

Go1, which can also be bought off Ali Express for as little as $2,700 but is also sold directly in Russia through a company owned by the same guy who provides the Ministry of Internal Affairs with IT equipment, can be knocked down by recoil or even the weight of the payload, and is very slow. Performance stats presented by the maker do not hold up in real-life scenarios, and they do even less if you add weight to the robot. According to the same media outlet, a Go1 dog could carry an RPG launcher, but would fall down if you added the RPG too, because it would max out on the allowed payload of 3 kg (6.6 pounds).

The same Go1 has been used for demos of unmanned combat equipment before. Another one of the videos at the bottom of the page show it doing some target practice at some kind of Russian military base. The video was posted earlier this year by entrepreneur Alexander Atamanov, who owns a Unitree dog for personal use (to fetch him drinks, mostly). If you look closely, you will see the dog losing balance with the recoil.

Coming to further discredit the M-81 robodog is the fact that Advanced Intellect seems to exist on paper only – and here too only as of earlier this summer.

This isn’t to say that Russia is not working on new weapons, which may or may not include robot dogs, but it should serve as the grain of salt to Putin’s bragging about how advanced they are. Russia has a history of lying about home-grown tech – like that time when the country’s most advanced humanoid robot Boris was actually a man in a suit, pretending to be a robot. Good times.






 
 
 
 
 

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