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China has developed the world’s largest electric-powered quadruped bionic robot, which is expected to join logistics delivery and reconnaissance missions in complex environments that have proven too challenging for human soldiers, including remote border regions and highly risky combat zones, analysts said.

In December, China announced that it would work to become a leading global player in robotics by 2025 under a five-year plan. 

The robot (dubbed the “mechanical yak”) can carry up to 160 kilograms, and despite its large size, it can run at up to 10 kilometers an hour, CCTV reported. It is equipped with sensors to be aware of the surrounding terrain and environment, and it has displayed a very strong adaptative ability to various types of terrains including steps, trenches and cliffs, not to mention muddy roads, grasslands, deserts and snow fields, the report said.

The robot can be deployed to deliver supplies including munitions and food in environments like plateaus, mountains, deserts and forests where normal vehicles have difficult time traversing.

Another potential use is close-in reconnaissance, as it can persistently gather battlefield intelligence and monitor target movements even in complex environments that have proven to be too challenging for human soldiers.

The robot is a very good choice for missions in remote border regions where constant monitoring is needed but conditions do not favor a constant human presence, for example, in high altitude plateaus, icy regions and dense forests, a Chinese military expert who requested anonymity told globaltimes.cn. 

Last year, Chinese tech giant Xiaomi had unveiled the “CyberDog,” a bionic quadruped robot with a high-precision environmental sensing system and 11 high-precision sensors distributed throughout its body. Other Chinese tech companies may have also developed quadruped bionic robots for various applications.