ROBODOGS: Artificial Intelligence gets Paw-some

Dr. Preethi Amaresh
Dr. Preethi Amaresh
Lead - Policy & Advocacy, CyberPeace
Mar 27, 2024


Robotic or Robo dogs are created to resemble dogs in conduct and appearance, usually comprising canine features including barking and wagging tails. Some examples include Rhex (hexapod robot), Littledog and BigDog (created by Boston Dynamics robot). Robodogs, on the whole, can even respond to commands and look at a person with large LED-lit puppy eyes. 

A four-legged robotic solution was recently concluded through its foremost successful radiation protection test inside the most extensive experimental area at the European Organization for Nuclear Research known as CERN. Each robot created at CERN is carefully crafted to fulfil exceptional challenges and complement each other. Unlike the previous wheeled, tracked or monorail robots, the robodogs will be capable of penetrating unexplored dimensions of the caverns, expanding the spectrum of surroundings that CERN robots can act as a guide. Also, Incorporating the robodog with the existing monorail robots in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) tunnel will expand the range of places available for monitoring and supervision, improving the security and efficiency of the operation of CERN. Lenovo too has designed a six-legged robot called the "Daystar Bot GS" to be launched this year, which promises "comprehensive data collection." 

Use of Robodogs in diverse domains

Due to the enhancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI), robodogs can be a boon for those with exceptional requirements.  The advantage of AI is the dependability of its features, which can be programmed to answer certain commands detailed to the user. 

In the context of health and well-being, they can be useful if they are programmed to take care of a person with distinct or special requirements (elderly person or visually impaired person). For this reason, they are considered more advantageous than the real dogs. Recently, New Stanford has designed robodogs that can perform several physical activities, including dancing and may also one day assist in putting pediatric patients in comfort during their hospital stays.  Similarly, the robodog, "Pupper", is a revamped version of another robotic dog designed at Stanford called "Doggo", an open-source bot with 3D printed elements that one could create on a fairly small budget. They were also created to interact with humans. Furthermore, Robots as friends are a more comfortable hop for the Japanese. The oldest and most successful social robot in Japan is called "Paro", resembling an ordinary plush toy that can help in treating depression, stress, anxiety and also mood swings in a person. Following 1998, several Paro robots were exported overseas and put into service globally, reducing stress among children in ICUs, treating American veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and assisting dementia patients. 

Post-pandemic, the Japanese experiencing loneliness and isolation have been clinging to social robots for mind healing and comfort.  Likewise, at a cafe in Japan, proud owners of the AI-driven robot dog "Aibo" have pawed its course into the minds and hearts of the people. Presently, robots are replacing the conventional class guinea pig or bunny at Moriyama Kindergarten in the central Japanese city of Nagoya. According to the teachers here, the bots apparently reduce stress and teach kids to be more humane. 

In the security and defence domain, the unique skills of robodogs allow them to be used in hazardous and challenging circumstances. They can even navigate through rugged topography with reassurance to save stranded individuals from natural catastrophes. They could correspondingly help with search and rescue procedures, surveillance, and other circumstances that could be dangerous for humans. Researchers or experts are still fine-tuning the algorithm to develop them by devising the technology and employing affordable off-shelf robots that are already functional. Robodogs are further used for providing surveillance in hostage crises, defusing bombs, besides killing people to stop them from attacking other individuals. Similarly, a breakthrough in AI is being tested by the Australian military that reportedly allows soldiers to control robodogs solely with their minds. Cities like Florida and St. Petersburg also seem bound to keep police robodogs. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is further seeking plans to deploy robot dogs at the borderlands. Also, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) intends to once again deploy four-legged 'Robodogs' to deal with high-risk circumstances like hostage negotiations. The NYPD has previously employed alike robodogs for high-octane duties in examining unsafe environments where human officers should not be exposed. The U.S. Marine Corps is additionally experimenting with a new breed of robotic canine that can be helpful in the battleground, enhance the safety and mobility of soldiers, and aid in other tasks. The Unitree Go1 robot dog (Nicknamed GOAT-Grounded Open-Air Transport) by the Marines is a four-legged machine that has a built-in AI system, which can be equipped to carry an infantry anti-armour rocket launcher on its back. The GOAT robot dog is designed to help the Marines move hefty loads, analyse topography, and deliver fire support in distant and dangerous places.

However, on the contrary, robodogs may pose ethical and moral predicaments regarding who is accountable for their actions and how to ensure their adherence to the laws of warfare. This may further increase security and privacy situations on how to safeguard the data of the robotic dogs and contain hacking or sabotage.


Teaching robots to traverse the world conventionally has been an extravagant challenge. Though the world has been seeing an increase in their manufacturing, it is simply a machine and can never replace the feeling of owning a real dog.  Designers state that intelligent social robots will never replace humans, though robots provide the assurance of social harmony without social contact. Also, they may not be capable of managing complicated or unforeseen circumstances that need instinct or human decision-making. Nevertheless, owning robodogs in the coming decades is expected to become even more common and cost-effective as they evolve or advance with new algorithms being tested and implemented. 


Mar 27, 2024
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