Hyundai testing Spot quadruped as factory safety monitor

Hyundai Motor Group completed its nearly $1 billion acquisition of Boston Dynamics in June. And now we have our first glimpse at how Hyundai is testing Boston Dynamics’ Spot quadruped robot.

Hyundai started testing the aptly named “Factory Safety Service Robot” at a Kia manufacturing plant in South Korea. This robot will be one of the tools Hyundai uses to ensure the facility is safe for workers. Spot looks a tad different than normal as Hyundai’s Robotics Lab outfitted the legged robot with a custom payload.

You can watch the robot in action in the video above.

The robot uses AI for detecting people, a thermal camera for detecting high-temperature risks, LiDAR for recognizing door openings, and navigation technology to move autonomously along designated areas within industrial sites. The robot can be remote-controlled through a secure webpage that provides a livestream of its movements around the plant, enabling office personnel to remotely observe industrial areas.

Based on these functions, the robot provides real-time sharing of photos of on-site situations and an activity log with the control center as well as support a rapid response in the event of an emergency by sounding an alarm on the control webpage.

“The Factory Safety Service Robot is the first collaboration project with Boston Dynamics. The robot will help detect risks and secure people’s safety in industrial sites,” said Dong Jin Hyun, head of Hyundai Motor Group Robotics Lab. “We will also continue to create smart services that detect dangers at industrial sites and help support a safe work environment through continuous collaborations with Boston Dynamics.”

Hyundai said it will go through the robot’s proof of concept and assess its effectiveness before expanding its patrol areas and reviewing additional deployment to other industrial sites.

Last week, Boston Dynamics unveiled the latest version of Spot. Spot 3.0 offers more flexible autonomy and repeatable data capture to make Spot more efficient to operate. Another upgrade with Spot 3.0 includes the ability to open push-bar doors.

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