Your next package could be delivered by a robot dog.
German automative firm Continental unveiled a concept delivery system at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that imagines four-legged robot dogs hopping out of driverless delivery vans to ferry packages straight to your doorstep.
Continental partnered with robotics company ANYbotics, known for its quadrupedal robots that can open doors and ride elevators, to develop the concept.
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Continental designed a robo-taxi specifically for the delivery dogs to ride around in.
Called the ‘CUbE,’ it’s a pod-shaped autonomous van that can carry one or multiple delivery robots at a time.
Once the van arrives at its destination, it will send out a robot dog through the back door of the car to drop the package off at the recipient’s doorstep.
At CES, Continental had a demo showing just what that would look like.
A robot dog was able to jump out of the van, clamber over a garden in front of a model home and make its way up a set of stairs to the door.
From there, it slides the package off its back and onto the front porch, before ringing the fake doorbell with one of its arms.
After delivering the package, it was even able to do a little dance.
Continental unveiled a concept system at the Consumer Electronics Show that imagines robot dogs hopping out of driverless delivery vans to ferry packages straight to your doorstep
Continental had a demo showing how it would work. One of the robots was able to jump out of the van, clamber over a garden in front of a model home and go up a set of stairs to the door
Continental believes the concept system could make last-mile delivery even more efficient in the future.
The last-mile portion of the delivery process encompasses how the package gets from the warehouse to the person’s doorstep.
‘With the help of robot delivery, Continental’s vision for seamless mobility can extend right to your doorstep,’ said Ralph Lauxmann, head of Continental’s Systems & Technology, Chassis & Safety division.
‘Our vision of cascaded robot delivery leverages a driverless vehicle to carry delivery robots, creating an efficient transport team.’
While the demo went smoothly, Continental doesn’t plan to roll out the robo-delivery dogs or the driverless van concept anytime soon.
Continental designed a robo-taxi for delivery dogs to ride around in. Called the ‘CUbE,’ it’s a pod-shaped autonomous van that can carry one or multiple delivery robots at a time
Continental says the concept system could make last-mile delivery even more efficient in the future. The last-mile portion encompasses how the package gets from warehouse to doorstep
ANYbotics, a division of ETH Zurich University in Switzerland, has previously showed off what its four-legged robots can do.
Earlier this year, it took the wraps off a quadrupedal robot that can open doors, ride an elevator and, in perhaps one of the creepiest scenarios, move uninterrupted after being pushed over by a human.
Called the ‘ANYmal,’ the device is described as an autonomous robot that can navigate nearly any terrain, including ones deemed unsafe for human entry.
Anymal’s robotic limbs allow it to move at a pace that’s comparable to that of a human and it can carry a payload of up to 22lbs.
It was developed by Robotic Systems Lab at ETH Zurich and has been shown in several videos completing various tasks.
The latest clip shows Anymal using an articulated arm to turn a door handle, then push the door open with ease.
As it walks down a hall, a human gives Anymal a good push, which doesn’t seem to phase the robot.
Another video shows Anymal riding an elevator without any human assistance.
It summons an elevator by extending one of its articulated arms and pressing a button.
The elevator doors open and, in somewhat frightening speed and accuracy, Anymal steps into the elevator.
These frightening scenarios – riding an elevator and fending off a human’s push – are likely what earned Anymal a brief cameo on the sci-fi TV show ‘The X-Files.’
‘The robot Anymal runs down a dark hallway, chasing agents Scully and Mulder in a nerve-racking pursuit,’ Peter Fankhauser, research assistant in Robotics at ETH Zurich, said in a blog post.
Anymal the robot dog was developed by Robotic Systems Lab at ETH Zurich University in Switzerland and has been shown in several videos running, crawling and walking
Anymal’s limbs allow it to move at a pace that’s comparable to that of a human and it can carry a payload of up to 22lbs. Its creators believe it could be used in first response situations
‘For decades, people are fascinated by robots, and this fascination has not worn off. So when we got a call with the question if our robotic platform Anymal could be part of the X-Files, we were super excited.’
But its creators believe it could have more practical applications than starring on Hollywood screens.
A variety of on-board sensors and cameras enable Anymal to autonomously navigate through numerous terrains, such as ‘moving up and down stairs, climbing over obstacles, steps and gaps, and crawling into tight spaces.’
It’s able to do this by using sensors to continuously scan its environment for any obstacles, so that it can find a safe path, even in the most complex places.
Anymal can navigate various terrains by using sensors to continuously scan its environment for any obstacles, so that it can find a safe path, even in the most complex places
ETH Zurich believes Anymal would be best suited for use in inspecting oil and gas sites, especially those that may be too dangerous for humans.
‘A high-end RGB zoom camera can collect rich information from large distances,’ the Anymal website reads.
‘Computer vision algorithms interpret the images to read out the state of components such as analog gauges, liquid level meters and valve lever positions.’
It can also conduct remote temperature readings, as a way to detect fires before they occur.
What’s more, Anymal is able to carry a glass of water without spilling a drop, or help humans carry a heavy load.
As of yet, it’s unclear how much Anymal costs.
However, it is smaller and more lightweight compared to other quadrupedal robots on the market, like the Spot Mini, which means that when it does become available, it could be a big help to humans.
Atlas the most human-like robot in Boston Dynamic’s line-up.
It was first unveiled to the public on 11 July 11 2013.
According to the company, Atlas is a ‘high mobility, humanoid robot designed to negotiate outdoor, rough terrain’.
Atlas measures 1.5m (4.9ft) tall and weighs 75kg (11.8st).
The humanoid walks on two legs, leaving its arms free to lift, carry, and manipulate objects in its environment.
Atlas is able to hold its balance when it is jostled or pushed by an external force. Should it fall over, the humanoid robot is capable of getting up again on its own
Stereo vision, range sensing and other sensors allow Atlas to walk across rough terrain and keep its balance.
‘In extremely challenging terrain, Atlas is strong and coordinated enough to climb using hands and feet, to pick its way through congested spaces,’ Boston Dynamics claims.
Atlas is able to hold its balance when it is jostled or pushed.
If the humanoid robot should fall over, it can get up on its own.
Atlas is designed to help emergency services in search and rescue operations.
The robot will be used to shut-off valves, opening doors and operate powered equipment in environments where human rescuers could not survive.
The US Department of Defence said it has no interest in using Atlas in warfare.
Atlas is capable of —
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