Earlier this month, a Chinese tech company unveiled its “innovative” design for its new four-legged, doggie robot.
Designed by Hangzhou-based Unitree Robotics, “Laikago” weighs 22 kilograms and can run along for two to three hours on a full charge. Unitree belives Laikago will be useful for humans as package deliverer.
However, many couldn’t help but notice that Laikago’s design looks awfully similar to another canine-like, quadruped robot, “BigDog” developed by Boston Dynamics. The US-based robotics company started work on its famous robo dog back in 2005, hoping that it could become a useful pack mule for US soldiers in the field. However, the project was finally shelved a decade later after its petrol-powered engine was deemed “too noisy for combat.”
Tech in Asia provides a video comparision of the two machines below:
However, Unitree founder Wang Xinging has rejected accusations that his company’s robo dog is a copycat. Wang told People’s Daily that Laikago is a follow-up to the four-legged “Xdog” that he built while still in university in 2014. Both of these robots are electrically-driven, unlike the noiser BigDog, and predate Boston Dynamics own all-electric canine robot, “Spot.”
With that logic, Wang apparently has no fears of being sued for copyright infringement and hopes to soon make Laikago available to ordinary customers (at a reported price tag of $20,000 to $30,000), with the dream that, someday: “Ideally everyone can have their own robot.”
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