Boston Dynamics’ four-legged Spot robot can be controlled from a far-away location and can be used in agriculture, helping to provide various tasks for farmers, which includes herding sheep. (Image Credit: Rocos, YouTube)
Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot can now be controlled from any location in the world. On May 20, 2020, New Zealand-based robotics software company Rocos announced a partnership with Boston Dynamics to give the four-legged robot, Spot, a new job: herding sheep. Rocos provides remote mission design and execution along with teleoperation functionality, improving Spot’s current capabilities.
Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot is always learning new tricks. The company has been branching out to telemedicine in the past few months due to the coronavirus outbreak, deploying Spot in local hospitals to decreases healthcare workers’ chances of contracting the virus. Spot has also been navigating around in an office, holding doors, and hauling a truck. Even police in Massachusetts have been testing Spot as a “mobile remote observation device.” Now, it can be used in agriculture and industrial applications.
Rocos specializes in software development for remote robot operation, and its cloud-based platform will allow Spot to carry out various tasks that workers otherwise wouldn’t be able to due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Such tasks include harvesting crops, inspecting yields, or creating real-time maps.
Combined with the Rocos platform, Spot can be controlled from a remote location, missions can be designed and edited on the go, and collected sensor data from each mission can be accessed by remote teams. The software will also allow Spot to be manually teleoperated to investigate issues, capture new data, or be redirected as needed.
Outfitted with LIDAR, heat, gas and high-resolution camera sensors, Spot is capable of navigating in rugged environments to capture real-time data, which is then fed into business systems. In the energy sector, it provides real-time anomaly detection and access to historical records for comparison. It will also allow farmers to access data, including accurate and up-to-date yield estimates.
“The age of autonomous robots is upon us. We’re working with organizations embracing this technology to achieve next-level business performance. Our customers are augmenting their human workforces to automate physical processes that are often dull, dirty, or dangerous. I’m excited to be working with the world-class team at Boston Dynamics as we help organizations scale their adoption of robotics.” David Inggs, CEO, Rocos.
During initial testing, Boston Dynamics navigated Spot in New Zealand on previously uncharted terrain, remotely accessing the robot through Rocos’ web UI.
“We're excited to see Rocos enabling key features for Spot for our industry partners. The industry applications we’re exploring with Rocos will see this important technology create new efficiencies for businesses - globally,” said Michael Perry, VP of Business Development, Boston Dynamics.
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