Hyundai Motor Group now employs robot dogs to oversee factory safety across industrial sites—starting at a Kia plant in South Korea.
The device, “based on” Boston Dynamics’ quadruped Spot, boasts applied artificial intelligence, autonomous navigation, teleoperation technologies, and computing payload to cover a variety of tasks. While the automaker never explicitly calls its “factory safety service robot” Spot, images and video released by Hyundai certainly point to a repurposed version of BD’s canine-inspired android.
The robot is able to navigate narrow spaces and identify blinds pots, provide real-time imagery of on-site situations, an activity log, and rapid-response support in case of emergency. Its integrated thermal camera and 3D LiDAR system helps detect nearby people, monitor fire hazards, and recognize open and closed doors. Remote-controlled movements are livestreamed around the plant, allowing personnel to keep tabs on the robots from distance. The machine, according to Dong Jin Hyun, head of Hyundai Motor Group Robotics Lab, “will help detect risks and secure people’s safety in industrial sites.”
This marks the companies’ first collaboration since Hyundai purchased Boston Dynamics for an estimated $1.1 billion this summer. The South Korean conglomerate acquired an 80% controlling stake from Softbank—an affiliate of which owns the remaining 20%.
“Through the pilot operation at Kia’s plant in South Korea, [Hyundai] will use the robot to support late-night security patrols and create a safer environment for workers,” a company press release said, promising to “assess its effectiveness as well as its applicability before expanding its patrol areas.”