Watch Out Spot, There's a New Robot Dog in Town and It's Getting Smarter

ANYmal can run, climb stair and avoid obstacles 6 photos
Photo: ANYbotics
The new four-legged robot ANYmalThe new four-legged robot ANYmalThe new four-legged robot ANYmalThe new four-legged robot ANYmalThe new four-legged robot ANYmal
We've seen Boston Dynamics' robot dog Spot performing all sorts of tricks over the years. When it comes to climbing, jumping, and even performing dance battles, the machine meets few limitations. Well, it does look like Spot has competition because there's a new four-legged in town that just got a boost with Velodyne Lidar sensors.
Announced back in April, ANYmal is the creation of Swiss robot company ANYbotics. Designed for both commercial and industrial use, for now, the autonomous robot is used by companies to perform inspection and monitoring tasks on industrial terrains that are difficult to access for workers.

Just like Spot, ANYmal has great mobility, being able to run and climb stairs. It can even climb different objects it encounters in its path. Unlike traditional wheeled robots, it can also crawl into tight spaces. ANYmal's inspection payload provides optical, thermal, and acoustic insights for condition monitoring of equipment and infrastructure.

The quadrupedal robot's freshly fitted Velodyne Puck sensors allow it to map industrial areas, recognize obstacles, and prevent collisions while navigating rugged terrains with more accuracy.

"The sensors enable precise localization and mapping capabilities our robots need to understand the physical environment they are operating in and any changes such as moving people and objects," said Daniel Lopez Madrid, Team Lead Perception at ANYbotics.

The lidar sensors are critical components in robotic autonomy and navigation. They enable mobile robots to function in unfamiliar environments by allowing them to "step" outside of controlled scenarios with pre-defined tasks.

Velodyne's sensors provide real-time 3D perception data for object tracking, categorization, and localization. The sensors help ANYmal even detect the shape of objects poorly illuminated. They also help with its movement by combining high-resolution image data with a broad vertical field of view.

Things are moving fast for ANYmal. Soon enough, it'll probably even get to Spot's level of performance, if not actually outperform it. Recently, the robot even won a stair race against Spot. Check it out!

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About the author: Florina Spînu
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Florina taught herself how to drive in a Daewoo Tico (a rebadged Suzuki Alto kei car) but her first "real car" was a VW Golf. When she’s not writing about cars, drones or aircraft, Florina likes to read anything related to space exploration and take pictures in the middle of nature.
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