They look like they've slipped out of a thriller – sleek robots with four legs that resemble dogs, open open doors, and dodge attacks from the humans who control them.
And videos were posted for the first time this week On YouTube, Robotic Dogs developers, Boston Dynamics, show the less cuddly dogs frolicking autonomously.
The videos come just three months after a Feb. 12 video of a robot dog who opens the door and flees with her friend became viral, sparking headlines like, "Boston Dynamics ̵
SpotMini robots first introduced by Boston Dynamics in June 2016 may become commonplace after CEO Marc Raibert's announcement on Friday at a conference that his company will sell the robots to companies next year. They can appear outside of construction sites – surveying construction sites and collecting building information – or outside of offices, where they could use their cameras for security. They could also be used to get into hard-to-reach areas, such as skyscraper staircases, where they could look for explosives or "bad things" that should not be there, Raibert said.
In fact, dogs can play almost any role, thanks to a customization feature that allows third-party vendors to run their own applications using SpotMini's computer programming. About 10 SpotMinis have already been built, and Raibert said he plans to produce about 100 more for testing this year before launching mass production by the middle of next year. While a price tag still needs to be determined for the robots, Raibert said that the cost of building the latest prototype is about one tenth of the cost of previous versions.
Raibert announced his plans at the TechCrunch conference University of California at Berkeley and focused on the growing role of robots in daily life.
Alex Horton of the Washington Post previously reported that robotic dogs may prove to be less nightmarish during a natural or man-made disaster that would endanger people, such as inspecting gas leaks or crawling through debris after an explosion. According to Horton:
"SpotMini's bulky cousin, BigDog, was funded by the Pentagon's research area as a potential ally on the battlefield to carry heavy ammunition and evacuate wounded troops, but the Marine Corps decided in 2015 that BigDog was simply too was loud and could leave the position to the enemy troops. "
A video released on Thursday on YouTube shows a SpotMini robot dog running around in an office and going up and down stairs. An operator first had to steer the robot through the course to create its own map of the area. But once that's done – as shown in the video – the robot can navigate by itself and detect obstacles through cameras.
In just over a day, the video of the robot dog came up the stairs and ran through the office alone more than 875,000 page views, a source of wonder and horror.
Combine this video with another Boston Dynamics released in November by an edgy humanoid robot with perfect backflips and you have a recipe for the demise of humanity. Some are afraid. Among them is Elon Musk, who said that autonomous machines are more dangerous to the world than North Korea, and he has compared the AI's assumption with "conjuring the devil".
After seeing the video of the two-legged robot returning after the back flip, Musk tweeted, "That's nothing."
"In a few years, this bot will move so fast that you'll need a stroboscope to see it," he wrote. "Beautiful Dreams …"
Although Boston Dynamics, owned by the Japanese SoftBank Group, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post, the company's website states that Atlas is the latest in a series advanced humanoid robot that develops it. 19659002] "Atlas's control system coordinates the movements of the arms, trunk and legs to achieve total body manipulation, which greatly extends the reach and working range," the company said. "Atlas's ability to balance while performing tasks makes it possible to work in a large volume while occupying a small footprint."
"Stereo vision, ranging and other sensors give Atlas the ability to manipulate objects in its environment and travel on rough terrain, keeping its balance upright when it is pushed or knocked, and can stand up when it tips over."
Raibert said that people often send him ideas for everyday applications of his company's robots. An idea is a device that can carry people in wheelchairs on difficult terrain.
"We get many requests for a wheelchair replacement because someone could not walk on a hiking trail with their normal wheelchair," he said. "We are not actively working on it yet."
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Peter Holley of the Washington Post contributed to this report.