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Giant robotic dragon claims world record

A German electronics manufacturer has built a giant, fire-breathing robotic dragon that has been awarded the Guinness world record for the world's largest walking robot.

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

A German electronics manufacturer has built a giant, fire-breathing robotic dragon that has been awarded the Guinness world record for the world's largest walking robot.

Hexapod tanks? Who needs hexapod tanks? We'll take a giant, fire-breathing robot dragon, please.

Alas, this awesome creation by German electronics manufacturer Zollner Electronik AG is no vehicle; its role is a little more artistic. Called Tradinno — a portmanteau of "tradition" and "innovation" — it stars in the annual 500-year-old folk tradition of "slaying the dragon" (Drachenstich) in the village of Furth im Wald.

Its creation got underway in 2007 and was completed in 2010 — but it's only recently that Tradinno was awarded the 2014 Guinness world record for the world's largest walking robot. It stands 4.5 metres high and 3.8 metres wide, with a wingspan of 12 metres, and stretches 15.5 metres from nose to tail tip, weighing in at 11 tonnes.

Powered by a 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine and nine modular control units, Tradinno doesn't just walk. The giant dragon also breathes smoke and fire from an 11-kilogram cannister of liquid gas. Packed inside are 50 hydraulic drives, 272 hydraulic valves, 43 hydraulic servo valves, 10 pneumatic drives, 12 electrical drives and over 1300 metres of electrical cabling. An 80-litre tank of stage blood allows Tradinno to die a spectacularly gruesome death.

The massive robot's four-legged gait was particularly problematic for the team. They solved it by giving each leg seven mobile degrees of freedom, allowing the robot to walk around corners and even sideways like a crab, controlled via bi-directional wireless data transfer in four control units. The control concept and walking algorithm is patent pending. You can check out Tradinno's full specs here.

It makes, as seen in the video below, for a magnificent spectacle. But we still really want to ride around on it.

Thanks for the tip, Simon!