WALTHAM, Massachusetts – Google’s Boston Dynamics robo-dog Spot made its first encounter with a real dog called Alex, a terrier. In a video released Tuesday Spot appears gracefully trying to make friends with Alex but the terrier wouldn’t stop barking. The real dog wasn’t afraid of the bigger robot animal, which weighs 160 pounds.
Boston Dynamics first unveiled the remote-controlled quadruped robot in February 2015. Spot has navigational sensors in its head (which is funny because the robot looks as if it was headless), has the ability to haul around 40 pounds and can get back up if someone knocks on its side.
Meanwhile, Alex the terrier belongs to Android co-founder Andy Rubin, head of the tech startup incubator Playground Global. The real dog is known as the team mascot of Android and is used to be around robots.
Steve Jurvetson, who shared the video with the world, said that Spot was the only robot dog in civilian hands. The model shown in the footage is designed to keep its balance even while climbing rocky hills and other rough surfaces.
Spot was originally built to be used by the U.S. military but last year they determined that the robot dog was not suitable for active military duty because of its lack of autonomy and also because it was too loud.
Robots can replace humans to carry out dangerous tasks
The Marine Corps tested out the robot dog during a week last fall. They wanted to use it for scouting or carrying loads. “Robots can’t get shot and they can’t die,” DARPA roboticist Ben Swilling told IGN.
Boston Dynamics released a video last week showing Atlas, its humanoid robot, as it was tortured and pushed by its creators to prove its resistance in adverse situations. The project aims to build robots that can eventually replace humans in particularly dangerous military missions.