Maybe it's the way they bound around like mechanical dog skeletons, but there's something inherently discomforting about quadruped robots. Regardless, these four-legged robots have evolved stunningly fast over the last few years and are set to become more commonplace, particularly in industrial settings. One example is Anymal, a quadrupedal robot birthed a few years ago at ETH Zurich that is soon to be available commercially and no longer needs human assistance when riding an elevator.
Not dissimilar to the impressive, and infamous, "Big Dog" from Boston Dynamics, Anymal is a smaller, multi-purpose robot that has been specifically designed for commercial and industrial applications. The bot is being advertised as good for uses on dangerous sites, such as oil and gas platforms or mines, as well as being functional as a basic security surveillance device.
Anymal isn't the smallest quadruped robot we've seen, but it is one of the most commercially-ready bots to date. Weighing around 30 kg (66 lb) and able to carry around 10 kg (22 lb), Anymal can move at a speed equivalent to that of a briskly walking human, and can operate for between two and four hours on a single battery charge, depending on its activity.
It's a nifty little robot that is packed with a variety of sensors allowing it to autonomously navigate through different industrial sites. The bot isn't available just yet, and a specific price hasn't been officially announced. But for comparison, the marginally smaller Ghost Minitaur currently sells for around US$11,500, so these hi-tech robo-helpers don't come cheap.
The latest video to show off the Anymal demonstrates it using an elevator. So for future nightmare-inducing reference, when you're being chased by one of these things, remember it can now follow you virtually anywhere, including between the floors of a skyscraper. There is nowhere to hide.