The People's Liberation Army (PLA) may use the Mechanical Yak to bring supplies of munitions and food to plateaus, mountains, deserts and forests where standard vehicles have difficulty crossing
|The Author is Former Director General of Information Systems and A Special Forces Veteran, Indian Army|
China has announced it has developed the largest Quad Robot which is ready for action. According to China’s state media, China now has 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 difficult for human soldiers, such as remote border regions and high-risk combat zones. The robot, which walks on four legs, has been termed as a “Mechanical Yak” by some. Chinese media claims the robot is the world’s largest, heaviest, and most off-road-capable of its kind.
The Mechanical Yak is equipped with sensors that allow it to be aware of its surroundings and environment, and it has demonstrated a strong adaptive ability to a variety of terrains, including steps, trenches, and cliffs, as well as muddy roads, grasslands, deserts, and snowfields. The robot looks more than half as tall as an adult yak while walking, and its length is about two times its height. It can reportedly carry up to 160 pounds and, despite its large size, can sprint at speeds of up to 10 km per hour. It will be an asset in conflict especially in remote and high altitude areas.
Chinese companies are developing quadruped bionic robots for various applications akin to the robots of the US
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) may use the Mechanical Yak to bring supplies of munitions and food to plateaus, mountains, deserts, and forests where standard vehicles have difficulty crossing. The robot reportedly can move forward and backward, turn, walk diagonally, run, dash, and jump in a stable manner because of 12 sets of joint modules. This makes the robot capable of carrying functions that a human can ideally carry and with enhanced capability to tread difficult slopes. Significantly, close-in reconnaissance is another potential application, as it can acquire battlefield intelligence and follow target movements even in complex circumstances that have proven too difficult for human soldiers.
According to a Chinese military analyst who requested anonymity, the Mechanical Yak is an excellent choice for missions in distant border regions where regular surveillance is required but conditions do not allow for a permanent human presence, such as high altitude plateaus, snowy regions, and dense forests. Also, the robot can also execute armed reconnaissance missions, exactly like a drone, but only on the ground, and it can play a crucial role in high-risk battle zones, since it may be able to replace some human scouts and delivery teams, reducing losses.
China is known for its research and development in the field of dual-use technology with potential military applications and is working to become a leading global player in robotics by 2025
Chinese companies are developing quadruped bionic robots for various applications akin to the robots of the US including America’s ‘Big Dog’ first unveiled in 2005. Another example of a Chinese quadruped bionic robot is ‘Geda’, a bionic mechanical dog, almost the same size as a live dog and weighs 32 kilos with a capacity to carry a full load of 40 kg. Geda has been trained to understand verbal instructions and recognise faces. It has passed testing to cross forests, rocky roads, tiny corridors, and single-plank bridges.
In 2021, China’s Xiaomi unveiled the “CyberDog,” a bionic quadruped robot with a high-precision environmental sensing system and 11 high-precision sensors distributed throughout its body that can communicate data to its AI-controlled brain in real-time. Xiaomi has announced establishment of a robotics lab to boost the development of global bionic robot.
China has been the world's largest consumer of industrial robots for eight consecutive years in a row
China is known for its research and development in the field of dual-use technology with potential military applications. China is working to become a leading global player in robotics by 2025. On December 28, 2021, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) together with seven other departments unveiled a five-year plan for smart manufacturing, vowing that large manufacturers will achieve digitalisation by 2025. High points of the plan include:
China has been the world's largest consumer of industrial robots for eight consecutive years in a row. China's robotics sector has formed a complete industry chain, ranging from parts to complete machines to integrated applications. However, MIIT says there are still gaps and a weak industrial foundation, and the quality, stability and reliability of key components cannot meet the needs of high-performance complete machines.
China is once again deploying robot soldiers armed with machine guns near the mountainous region of Ladakh, this time in large numbers
News reports of December 31, 2021, indicated that China is once again deploying robot soldiers armed with machine guns near the mountainous region of Ladakh, this time in large numbers. This obviously is because PLA soldiers have suffered unusually high number of casualties in high altitude areas because of their physical make, earning them name of “chocolate-cream soldiers’. China perforce has gone in for recruiting large number of Tibetans. Nevertheless, China’s robotic development and particularly applications need to be monitored.
The PLA has also sent large number of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) to areas close to Ladakh
The PLA has also sent large number of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) to areas close to Ladakh. 88 x Sharp Claw UGVs have been deployed in Tibet and 38 of them have been deployed in the western side. The Sharp Claw can be controlled wirelessly. The PLA also has the VP-22 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle which can be used to move troops or as an ambulance. The VP-22 can carry about 15 passengers at a time. There are 70 VP-22s in Tibet, and as with the Sharp Claws and Mules, most of them (47) are in the western sector.With the specialised vehicles, about 200 Lynx all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) have been spotted, about 150 of them in the areas closer to Ladakh. They can be used for moving soldiers and supplies and as a platform for heavy weapons or for air defence weapons.