Chinese company Unitree has opened pre-orders on its second-gen robot dog companion. The Go2 can follow you around at jogging speeds, perform some wild gymnastic feats, and even talk to you through a GPT-enabled system that writes code on the fly.
As far as basic stats, this little robo-dog weighs about 15 kg (33 lb), stands about 40 cm (16 in) tall, and is about 70 cm (28 in) from … where the nose would be to where the tail would be? Its aluminum/high-strength plastic chassis can carry more than half its own weight as payload if necessary, and it’ll run for an hour or two on a battery charge.
And I do mean run; the US$1,600 base model can manage 5.6 mph (9 km/h), and the $2,800 Pro model ups that to 7.8 mph (12.6 km/h), so it’ll easily keep up with most folk on a jog.
The new model gets super wide-angle LiDAR, as well as HD cameras with which to map and navigate its environment in real time. This lets it do things like walk along by your side, following where you go while avoiding obstacles and adapting to difficult terrain, including stairs, rocks and whatnot.
Its athletic capabilities are next-level, thanks to motors some 30% more torquey than the previous model – it can jump, rip sick backflips, dance on two crossed-over legs, and show off its extraordinary balance by doing things like standing on its front two legs and going down stairs that way.
But the Pro model also rocks a GPT-enabled speech engine. So yes, that means you can converse with it in natural language – but more impressively, it’ll also attempt to write code for itself in response to your verbal requests, interpreting your intentions and trying to find a way to help out.
We wouldn’t expect it to be much actual use at this stage – and indeed, when asked to do something useful and fetch a glass of water in the promo video, it says it can’t reach, but instead starts twerking its butt in the air and makes the following eyebrow-raising statement.
Maybe some of us are harder to pleasure than others, but that doesn’t do it for me. The pricing is a little disingenuous; if you want a Unitree Go2 Pro with a controller, you’re really looking at $3,050 – and all models have a ludicrous $400 shipping fee and a 25% duty slapped on top if ordered in the USA.
And yet, even at $4,200, what an insane toy! Boston Dynamics charges closer to $75,000 for the Spot robot dog this thing clearly draws its inspiration from. You can fit it with various accessories, including a back-mounted robotic arm and grabber, depth cameras and radar modules, and you can program it through an app if voice control doesn’t do the job.
What’s it for? Well, look, the promo video shows two functions that could be described as useful: it bangs out a selfie of its owner, and it picks up an empty bottle with its servo arm and puts it in the bin.
Realistically, this thing will mainly be bought and used by the most annoying dudes in your town, who will hit your local beach spot, shirtless and grinning, and get these bots to do tricks as an obnoxious play for female attention. Infuriatingly, it’s going to work.
They’ll want to be nice to these little fellas, though. When the Chinese robot revolution begins, and these things start assembling themselves into a towering Voltron city-leveler, they’re going to remember how they’ve been treated…
Check out the video below. It’s nuts.
Introducing Unitree Go2 – Quadruped Robot of Embodied AI from $1600
This post originally appeared on TechToday.