Robotics

Remotely operated Spot robot herds sheep in New Zealand

Remotely operated Spot robot h...
Testing the new cloud-based software, Spot was monitored herding sheep in New Zealand by a team based in the United States
Testing the new cloud-based software, Spot was monitored herding sheep in New Zealand by a team based in the United States
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Testing the new cloud-based software, Spot was monitored herding sheep in New Zealand by a team based in the United States
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Testing the new cloud-based software, Spot was monitored herding sheep in New Zealand by a team based in the United States

Boston Dynamics’ dog-like Spot robot can now be remotely controlled from anywhere in the world thanks to a partnership with cloud-based software platform Rocos. To demonstrate its new capabilities the US team remotely monitored the robot working on an isolated farm in New Zealand.

Boston Dynamics is slowly figuring out more and more real-world applications for its customizable Spot robot. Last month we saw Spot deployed in a Boston hospital, helping doctors remotely interface with infectious COVID-19 patients. Prior to that we have seen the robot recruited for various industrial tasks, including patrolling oil rigs and monitoring building sites.

A newly announced partnership between Boston Dynamics and Rocos, developers of a cloud-based robot operations platform, is set to dramatically expand Spot’s functionality. And to demonstrate these new capabilities, the Boston Dynamics team remotely managed Spot performing a variety of tasks on a farm in New Zealand, as shown in the video below.

Autonomous farm work - enter the robots

“Robotics companies are producing very capable machines for achieving specific tasks,” explains David Inggs, CEO of Rocos. “The missing link is a cloud-based platform to connect, monitor and automate the activities of a fleet. With Boston Dynamics and Rocos, organizations can now design, schedule and manage inspection missions remotely.”

The new software platform allows any number of Spot robots to be remotely managed. This includes the ability to not only manually teleoperate the robots, but also monitor operations and redirect new missions as needed.

Although the new announcement primarily focuses on industrial and agricultural applications, the current global pandemic has seen Spot recruited for some unexpectedly novel tasks. One pilot trial in Singapore, for example, has been testing the robot’s ability to monitor social distancing practices in public parks. As well as lowering the risk of viral exposure for park staff, Spot can broadcast messages reminding people to keep their distance from one another.

Source: Rocos via Businesswire

5 comments
Techjunkie88
Interesting if just a little bit too reminiscent of that Black Mirror episode! I'm not sure I want robots replacing sheep dogs either, and a lot of that video was long on cute moves and short on practical functionality.
CarolynFarstrider
This is one of the scariest things I have seen in a long time..... what else could it round up?
foxpup
I think the border collie's job is safe. It probably costs 10 dog lives of dog food to buy one of the robots and it can't do half as much and isn't as good of company.
foxpup
I'd like to see a robot like this going around watering flowers, recognizing dandilions in the lawn and removing them and distributing water and fertilizer wherever needed in the yard. Now that would be useful.
Data Stream
Fox pup,
Spot on!