Photo of a dog-shaped robot from the Dynamic Robotics and Control Laboratory at USC Viterbi.
The presumptive “George Tirebiter V” is a 26-pound robotic dog who lives in USC Viterbi Professor Quan Nguyen's Dynamic Robotics and Control Laboratory.(Photo/Damon Casarez)

If you were driving down Trousdale Parkway about 75 years ago, there was a good chance you’d encounter a feisty mutt who loved running alongside cars while snapping furiously
at their spinning tires. His name was, appropriately enough, George Tirebiter.

Students loved George, who was honored with a parade and crowned as the university’s first official mascot on Oct. 22, 1947. He posed with university presidents and homecoming queens; he chased rival mascots across the gridiron and up goalposts. George eventually retired in 1950 to a country farm, where he spent his days running after tractors, trucks and wheelbarrows.

George was succeeded by an unbroken line of Tirebiters until 1961 when George Tirebiter IV retired and was replaced by Traveler.

Now, thanks to USC Viterbi Professor Quan Nguyen and his students in the USC Dynamic Robotics and Control Laboratory, the Tirebiter legacy lives on — in the form of a 26-pound robotic dog, a presumptive “George Tirebiter V.”

George V fights COVID-19 by sanitizing classrooms and, on a hot summer day, can even deliver nearly half its weight in water bottles to thirsty students.
 e robotic canine reminds us not only to cherish the past and embrace the present but also to face the challenges ahead bravely.

Indeed, to “Fight On!”