Russia’s new combat robot shoots guns and drives ATVs… slowly

When someone describes a machine as a “combat robot,” you’d probably imagine something akin to the Terminator or perhaps even Boston Dynamics’ BigDog. Maybe that’s why Russian president Vladimir Putin didn’t look impressed when he was presented his country’s newest combat robot prototype — because instead of coming face-to-face with a RoboCop, he ended up meeting a frail-looking fella slouching on an ATV. Putin recently visited the Central Scientific Research Institute of Precision Engineering Tochmash in Moscow (think Russian DARPA), where he watched the curious robot gingerly drive on a track like a sweet grandmother with bad eyesight.

It did shoot a handgun five times, though, so it earned some badass points, at least. This robot was originally developed as part of the program aiming to create a cyborg for the International Space Station. Still, it’s not yet autonomous, so someone was controlling it remotely during Putin’s visit. Its creators hope to develop it further, so it can not only discharge firearm on the battlefield, but also administer first aid.

Despite Putin’s blank expressions and bored demeanor caught on cam during the demo, he had nothing but good things to say about the program, according to Russia Today. He said that everything he’s seen that day confirms that Russia’s military is “on the right path to achieve the desired objectives.” Those “objectives,” RT said, include “building autonomous tanks, unmanned vehicles, and other weapons one won’t be ashamed of in the 21st century.” He also praised everything his scientists and engineers have accomplished, thus far: “These advanced developments look really interesting,” he said, “sometimes more like a sci-fi movie.”

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