Boston Dynamics shows off terrifying robot reindeer

A US robotics company has revealed a festive and distinctly creepy use for its four-legged robotic inventions. Who needs Rudolph when you’ve got a BigDog?

Google-owned Boston Dynamics posted the following video of its BigDog robots in action. The team has swapped out actual live reindeer for two BigDog robots.

These BigDogs are gas-powered quadrupeds that can trot along at 16mph, scale 35-degree slopes, and right themselves in the event of a spill.

Sadly, they cannot fly, but it seems they can drag a sleigh carrying a female Santa and a bunch of presents. Because Christmas.

Regardless of the cheery paint job and festive spirit with which this stunt was no doubt conceived, we have a sneaking suspicion this will be appearing in our nightmares some time soon.

Related: Christmas 2015 gift guide

Perhaps it’s the fact that the BigDogs were originally designed for US military usage, with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Is that a ‘kill’ mode switch we see under those antlers?

Boston Dynamics was founded in 1992 by former MIT professors. Google bought the company back in 2013, as part of a spate of robotics buy-ups from the internet giant, back when Android creator Andy Rubin was still heading up Google’s robotics division.