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Robotic dogs taking on jobs in security, inspection and public safety


There have been a number of robot dogs with four legs deployed within the workplace For inspections, security, and public safety. These four-legged robots, which are mobility platforms with multiple payloads that adapt to the information companies need, are at their core a set of mobility platforms. 

There is intense competition in the market for four-legged robots. The U.S. Boston DynamicsSince around 10 years, Spot has been creating its robot of 70 pounds. Nearby, MITA smaller, four-legged bot that it calls the “mini cheetah” has also been in development. Ghost RoboticsPhiladelphia makes robots for military applications. While in Switzerland, Swiss-based robotics is being developed. AnyboticsIt is creating a robot called Anymal with four legs for its industrial customers. Chinese firms like Deep Robotics, Weilan Unitree RoboticsEach company is building its own, although these companies appear to be at most partially focusing in the personal robotics market.

Based on Allied Market ResearchThe global inspection robots market was worth $940 million in 2020, and it is projected to grow to close to $12 billion by 2030. National Grid, an electric utility serving customers in Massachusetts and New York is one example. Two robots built by Boston Dynamics in Massachusetts have been used to inspect routinely. LIDAR is used to navigate the robots. They also have thermal and visual cameras that take thermal images and photos of equipment within the substation. Before Spot was available, the majority of inspections performed at National Grid substations had to be done by humans. Some cases would require that the substation be shut down temporarily, as it was unsafe for people to perform inspections on the equipment. 

National Grid is an electric and gas utility that uses a Boston Dynamics quadruped robot to inspect one of its Massachusetts substations.

Magdalena Petrova| Magdalena Petrova

Dean Berlin is the National Grid lead engineer for robotics technology. He says, “We believe the investment in robots to be prudent because they improve the safety operating conditions of our employees.” The robot’s ability to be repeated is another advantage. It takes the pictures from the same angle every time.

Boston Dynamics users who have used it beforeSpot the robot dog Merck BPThe company is currently using the robot to read and monitor gauges autonomously, measure corrosion and methane at some of the oil rigs it has in the Gulf of Mexico. Malaysian oil and natural gas company PetronasAnybotics has provided robot dogs to help inspect the offshore platforms of the corporation. Brazilian mining corporation, ValeAnybotics Anymal was also adopted by a number of early adopters. Vale has completed its initial testing and is currently looking to buy a robot that can inspect mine equipment and collect data. Anymal helps Vale’s staff to inspect mines, which can be dangerous because of noise, dust and parts that rotate. BASFAnymal is being tested by a German chemical company, which is also based in Germany. The robot collects visual, thermal, and acoustic data from BASF equipment. Spot and Anymal were also deployed at construction sites and, in the case with Anymal, train yards for train inspections.

These companies often need to send their employees to gather data on the plant’s condition. And so their vision is with these types of robots, such as Anymal, to automate some of these tasks making sure that their people are safe and can save on some of the costs associated with actually transporting people on site,” says Péter Fankhauser, CEO and co-founder of Anybotics.

Anybotics’ Anymal robot collects data at a BASF facility.


Quadruped robots have many other uses that are starting to take hold. These robots are being used for defense, which is the one that has caused controversy. The New York City Police Department announced in May 2021 that they would no longer test one of the Boston Dynamics Spot robots. This was due to strong public opposition. 

Spot’s job in public safety is to keep people from harm’s way. Spot was being used by the NYPD in exactly this way. Spot would be the point for communication with a hostage-taking suspect, possibly armed and barricaded. Robert Playter, CEO of Boston Dynamics said that this was a great use case for robots.

Although the NYPD robot involved in the NYPD shooting incident wasn’t armied and was being controlled remotely by an officer of the NYPD, there were concerns about fully-autonomous robots being weaponized. This led to the creation of the Initiative. “Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.”This coalition seeks to prohibit the production, development and use fully-autonomous weapons. Its members include supportersElon Musk (the Tesla CEO), Stephen Hawking (the late Stephen Hawking) and many other A.I. experts.

Ghost Robotics considers the defense market its bread and butter. According to the Philadelphia-based firm, more than 90% of its customers are U.S. or allied foreign governments. Ghost Robotics Vision 60 robot is being used by the U.S. Air Force to patrol security areas around multiple bases. According to the Air Force, these robots are capable of operating in all temperatures. They also have 14 sensors that provide situational awareness. Ghost Robotics also signed a contract with Singapore’s Defense Science and Technology Agency. According to the agency, it will develop and test use cases for robots with four legs for humanitarian and security purposes.

Tech. Sgt. John Rodiguez of the 321st Contingency Response Squadron security force patrols with his Ghost Robotics Vision 60 prototype on a simulated austere basis during an Advanced Battle Management System (ABM) exercise at Nellis Air Force Base in Nev., September 3, 2020.

Tech.| Tech. Sgt. Cory D. Payne

Robotic dogs have many other uses that are starting to take hold. Spot is currently being used to assess the vital signs and radiation levels of Covid-19-infected patients at hospitals. NASA is also sending robot dogs from Boston Dynamics to caves, hoping to one day find other life. Farmers Insurance saidSpot, along with its claims personnel will be used by the company to assess damages caused by tornadoes, hurricanes or other climate-related phenomena.

Experts forecast that the entire insurance industry will invest $1.7 Billion in robotics technology by 2025. Other industries could follow their lead. Many companies are turning to automation in the face of an increasing number of job losses and a weak labor market. McKinsey conducted a survey in December 2020 and found that 51% of North American respondents had invested more in technology in 2020. This includes remote work technologies.

Fankhauser states, “As a business, we really push towards this artificial workforce being implemented, where humans work side by side to solve difficult issues.” Our vision is for people to not do dangerous work in unsafe places. Our vision is contained within the [next]In 10 years, it will become standard to either hire a person or robot for a specific job.

However, they aren’t cheap. Anybotics’ Anymal robot costs $150,000. However, the company claims that this price includes the complete autonomy platform which also comes with LIDAR, a docking station, and LIDAR. Ghost Robotics’ Vision 60 robotics robot costs approximately $150,000. Boston Dynamic’s Entry-Level “Explorer” Spot robot costs $75,000 but doesn’t include a charging dock or autonomous capability. This is in contrast to its more costly “Enterprise Model”. Price does not include payloads. Take National Grid’s robot. CNBC did not get the price of the National Grid robot. However, the cost of the LIDAR and thermal cameras alone was more than $57,000. Boston Dynamics states that it has sold more than 100 Spot robots to date, while Anybotics only sold about 100.

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