Dogo: The tiny Israeli killer robot

General Robotics shows off world’s first lightweight armed tactical combat robot.

November 8, 2016 19:48
3 minute read.
General Robotics Dogo

General Robotics Dogo. (photo credit: Courtesy)

It’s called the Dogo. It’s small and packs a deadly punch.

This Israeli-made device is the world’s first lightweight armed tactical combat robot. Named for the Argentine Mastiff, it measures 11 inches in height and – when in stealth mode – can shrink to a mere 5.5 inches.

Designed with input from Israel’s Defense Ministry and the police’s counter-terrorism unit, the Dogo was made specifically for Special Forces, SWAT teams and infantry missions. It was built to operate in urban combat zones as well as underground, maneuver across difficult terrain, climb up and down stairs, and last about four hours on fully-charged batteries.

What makes the Dogo unique? A 9mm Glock26 pistol tucked inside can fire 14 rounds via a remotely operated joystick, which allows the controller to aim and fire from a safe position.

The stealthy robot is able to aim at a standing target, or even at one hiding under a bed.

Lt.-Cmdr. Shahar Gal (res.), vice-president of business development and co-founder of General Robotics Ltd., told The Jerusalem Post, “We think that any place which may be dangerous, where there might be a terrorist or criminal around the corner, we think you should send a robot. But sending a robot without a weapon is like sending a soldier without a weapon. It can’t defend itself or act in case he sees something.”

While Israel already has weaponized robots, “they are very heavy and it takes a lot of time to direct a weapon to where you want. With the Dogo, since it weighs only 11.5 kilos, you can use it immediately and designate the weapon toward the target within a second with point-and-shoot technology,” Gal said.

“For example,” he continued, “what happened in the Dallas shooting case, they took a very large robot weighing 300 kilos, had to wait 4 hours until the robot came in a special vehicle because it weighs so much, they attached half a kilo of C4 to it and they blew up the whole floor. So it’s not a very clean way to neutralize the terrorist. Especially if there are innocent bystanders nearby.”

The Dogo also has built-in two-way encrypted audio communications, allowing the operator to listen and intervene in hostage situations.

With a range of 400 meters, communication is a significant feature of the Dogo, especially as it transmits large amounts of visual and audio information.

The company says they designed the robot so that “even if there are two large concrete walls” between the operator and the machine, “there will be good communication between the two as long as the Dogo stays within 100 meters of the operator.” Additional accessories can extend the range to almost a kilometer.

The Dogo includes eight video cameras that provide 360° images. According to Gal, “Once the Dogo sees a terrorist it will be able to engage and then there will be no need to risk the soldier to finish the event.”

And what about hacking? That’s been covered, according to Gal, who said: “One of the best Israeli units tried to crack our encrypted communications.”

While they were eventually successful, it took them quite a few hours. “If it took them many hours to crack it, there would be no way a terrorist would be able to crack it” before they would be neutralized.

In addition to its deadly arsenal, the Dogo can be equipped with non-lethal means to neutralize a threat, including pepper spray and a “dazzler” that can stun and temporarily blind a target from a distance of between five and 10 meters.

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