Spot might not be working for the cops anymore, however Boston Dynamics’ quadruped robotic already has a brand new gig as a guard canine at a South Korean auto manufacturing facility. Cue a contemporary wave of “Black Mirror” memes.
Its official function can be as a “Manufacturing unit Security Service Robotic,” in response to a press launch from Hyundai Motor Group, which acquired Boston Dynamics from Softbank again in June. The automaker introduced this week that Spot is working at Kia’s plant in South Korea as a part of a pilot program.
To observe and implement security laws on the plant, Spot comes outfitted with an in depth toolkit of high-tech options that solely sound barely dystopian. Its built-in thermal digital camera and 3D LiDAR sensor can detect whether or not a door is open or closed or if there are folks in its fast neighborhood. It may additionally spot potential hearth hazards and temperature spikes.
One among Spot’s most helpful options is its capacity to make use of picture recognition powered by machine studying to be taught customized duties and expertise, reminiscent of navigation patterns or the way to play fetch. The robotic can navigate the plant autonomously or be managed remotely through a safe webpage that broadcasts a stay stream of its actions in real-time.
By this identical webpage, Spot sends common updates to higher-ups about its exercise log and images of any on-site conditions it comes throughout. If it detects hazard whereas making its rounds, its programs will mechanically shoot off an alert to manufacturing facility managers. Due to the robotic’s small dimension, it could navigate slim areas and determine blind spots which may be tough for its human co-workers to see, Hyundai stated.
Spot’s function as a Manufacturing unit Security Service Robotic marks Hyundai’s first collaboration mission with Boston Dynamics, stated Dong Jin Hyun, head of Hyundai’s robotics lab, in a press release.
“The Robotic will assist detect dangers and safe folks’s security in industrial websites,” he continued. “We may even proceed to create good providers that detect risks at industrial websites and assist help a protected work surroundings via steady collaborations with Boston Dynamics.”
As a part of its pilot program, Spot will carry out late-night safety patrols at Kia’s plant. Hyundai will entry the robotic’s effectiveness as soon as its trial run is full to find out whether or not to broaden its patrol areas or give different websites their very own Spots too.
Boston Dynamics got here beneath hearth earlier this yr for partnering with the New York Metropolis Police Division to place so-called Digidogs within the discipline. Below the contract, most of Spot’s duties would have concerned mundane duties like finishing up security inspections for grid staff or scanning constructing layouts for firms curious about new development initiatives. Nonetheless, given the NYPD’s extensive history of misconduct, folks have been understandably involved on the thought of them having a military of robodogs at their command.
Widespread backlash led the NYPD to quietly lower ties with Boston Dynamics in April. On the time, an organization spokesperson informed the New York Times its robodogs have been by no means designed “for use as weapons, inflict hurt or intimidate folks or animals.”