Friday, December 1, 2023

Engineers develop AlphaDog, the fastest robodog on the market

A China-based tech firm Weilan has developed AlphaDog, the Quadruped Robot Platform, to unleash your creativity. Like a real dog, AlphaDog is your loyal friend, and it follows your orders and tries to accomplish the commanded tasks autonomously. It plays happily with you, and you can explore a whole lot of possibilities with it.

The robodog uses sensors and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to ‘hear’ and ‘see’ its environment and to carry out a whole host of applications, including delivering parcels and guiding the visually impaired. Although AlphaDog has a very similar design to that of Boston Dynamics‘ Spot robot, the Chinese machine is aimed squarely at the commercial market rather than businesses.

Engineers develop AlphaDog, the fastest robodog on the market.
With four metal legs, it can easily travel different terrains. Credit: Weilan

Nanjing-based engineers claim that the machine, which moves at speeds of almost 9 mph (15 km/h), is currently the fastest robot dog on the market. With four metal legs, it is more stable than a real dog. Also, the demonstrations of AlphaDog see it keep its balance after being kicked by its human creators.

Ma Jie, chief technology officer at Weilan, said that they use 5G technology that provides a very fast internet connection to enable the robot to operate autonomously and to react instantly. Ma, who studied reinforcement learning at the University of Oxford, says he has used that knowledge to inform how the AI dog mimics the behavior of real canines.

Engineers develop AlphaDog, the fastest robodog on the market.
Weilan developers hope that it will eventually be able to help to guide the visually impaired. Credit: Weilan

Since 2018, “Spot,” a four-legged machine designed for industrial use by Boston Dynamics, has become a world benchmark in robotics and an internet sensation after appearing in a series of viral YouTube videos. However, arrived on the market in 2020, Weilan has managed to sell more than 1,800 AlphaDogs in its first month of sale, despite a rather hefty price tag of 16,000 yuan ($2,400).

Weilan developers hope that the robot can be assigned to safeguard people and properties, patrol parks and communities, guide a blind person, deliver packages to your front door, inspect factories or dangerous places, do rescue missions, or even do humanitarian demining to save lives.