Hyundai puts Boston Dynamic's Spot robot to work as a factory safety inspector

Boston Dynamics’ Spot has found itself a new job, and thankfully this time it doesn’t involve a potential battlefield role. Hyundai has started testing the robot at a Kia manufacturing plant in South Korea where it will be one of the tools the company uses to ensure the facility is safe for workers. The pilot represents the first public collaboration between the two companies since Hyundai acquired a majority stake in Boston Dynamics this past June.

You’ll notice the Spot featured in the video Hyundai released looks different from the robot we’ve seen in past clips. That’s because the automaker’s Robotics Lab outfitted it with what is essentially a backpack that features a host of enhancements, including a thermal camera, LiDAR and more powerful computing resources for handling additional AI tasks. The “AI Processing Service Unit” allows Spot to detect people, monitor temperatures and check for fire hazards. Additionally, a secure webpage allows factory personnel to monitor the robot remotely, and take over control if they want to inspect an area of the facility more closely.

© Hyundai Spot

According to Hyundai, the pilot will help it assess the effectiveness of Spot as a late-night security patrol robot before it goes on to deploy it at additional industrial sites. Automation, manufacturing and construction applications align with what the automaker said was its grand plan for Boston Dynamics when it bought the company.

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