China's latest weapon of war is a gun-toting robot dog

  • China unveiled robot dogs with machine guns that could replace soldiers.

  • The robots can navigate obstacles and fire at targets.

  • The move aligns with China's increased military budget and global shift toward robotic warfare.

China has showcased robot dogs capable of firing machine guns in the latest display of its military prowess.

The remote-controlled robots were unveiled during a military training exercise conducted by China and Cambodia earlier this month.

According to a video shared by state broadcaster CCTV, the battery-operated robodogs can function independently for between two and four hours and are capable of moving forward and backward, lying down, and jumping.

They can also plan routes, approach targets, and avoid obstacles, the video said. One of the robots shown in the video was fitted with a rifle to shoot targets, according to CCTV.

Chen Wei, a Chinese soldier, told CCTV that the robot dogs will "serve as a new member in urban combat operations" and can replace the role of human soldiers in identifying and striking targets.

The robot dogs appeared to be supplied by the Chinese manufacturer Unitree, Axios said. The robot dogs on Unitree's website cost between $2,800 and $100,000.

This isn't the first time China has shown off a gun-toting robot dog. Back in 2022, Business Insider reported that China had developed a robot dog that carried a machine gun and could be deployed via drone.

It's just the latest sign of China's growing military capabilities.

China's military recently undertook two-day large-scale drills around Taiwan. As BI previously reported, the drills were used to test China's ability to carry out an assault.

Speaking at a Taiwan policy meeting in February, Wang Huning, the Chinese Communist Party's fourth-ranked leader, said that China planned to "resolutely combat" any sign of Taiwan independence in 2024, Reuters reported.

This comes after China's military spending for this year was estimated to rise to 1.67 trillion yuan, or $231 billion — the biggest increase in five years, Bloomberg reported in March.

Smart machinery is becoming more commonplace for militaries worldwide.

"Living fighters will gradually begin to be replaced by their robotic 'brothers' who can act faster, more accurately, and more selectively than people," Vitaly Davydov, deputy director of Russia's Advanced Research Foundation, said in an interview with RIA cited by Forbes in April 2020.

Meanwhile, the US military is using "non-weaponized" robots supplied by Boston Dynamics. According to its website, the company specializes in robots that can remotely inspect hazardous environments, conduct rescue missions, and perform other logistics operations.

China's Ministry of National Defense and Unitree did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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