Ford Uses Obedient Robot Dogs To Update Facilities Maps
Just imagine trying to map and update engineering facilities that cover tens of acres by painstaking use of tripod-mounted laser scanners in hundreds or thousands of locations.
We'll let the dogs do it. Robot dogs, that is.
Ford is going to employ two of Boston Dynamics’ “Spot” robots, which are four-legged, dog-like walking robots that weigh roughly 70 lbs each, to help them update the original engineering plans for one of the transmission manufacturing plants. The plants, Ford explains, have undergone any number of changes since their original construction, and it’s difficult to know if the plans they have match up with the reality of the plants as they exist today. The Spot robots, with their laser scanning and imaging capabilities, will be able to produce highly detailed and accurate maps that Ford engineers can then use to modernize and retool the facility.
The Spot dogs are roving and scanning continuously, providing a reduction of up to 50% in terms of actual time to complete the facility scan.
Tony Rand, the chief engineer of a vast arcology, didn't have time to walk from one construction site to another. Read his fictional solution in Oath of Fealty by Niven and Pournelle:
He had to follow the minutiae, because he didn't know what would turn out to be vital.
That led to his development of robot probes; small devices with cameras and sound equipment which could move freely through Todos Santos under Rand's direct control. If he sent out two or three of the small tele-operated devices (he called them Arr-twos after the small droid in Star Wars), Rand could effectively be in several places at once, see machinery and construction details in real time from both above and below, and generally explore without leaving his bedroom.
(Read more about robot probes)