Two robot dogs have arrived in the UK thanks to a Coventry organisation that is at the heart of engineering innovation.
The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) based at Ansty Park has taken delivery of two agile robotic dogs which have to be seen to be believed.
Looking like something out of the sci-fi blockbuster RoboCop, the robotic dogs can climb stairs and cross rough terrain which would defeat most robots.
They even have a suitably canine name – Spot.
Sadly the robotic dogs will not be located on the edge of Coventry, as they will be based at one of the MTC’s satellite centres in Merseyside.
They also have a serious purpose having been developed by Boston Dynamics, a global leader in mobile robotics.
Spot has a fully customisable modular platform, which means it can be reconfigured for a wide variety of tasks to increase efficiency and greatly reduce safety risks in the workplace. It is a robot that can go where many others cannot.
Their arrival in the UK is part of MTC Liverpool’s Digital Manufacturing Accelerator programme. The robots will be based on Merseyside on an “open-access” basis for an initial 12-month period, aimed at helping businesses and organisations in Liverpool and the North West automate their operations safely and efficiently.
MTC Liverpool is one of the only organisations in the world to make Spot available to any organisation from any sector wishing to investigate how they can increase efficiency, improve their manufacturing processes and reduce human risk in dangerous working environments.
The robot has already been used by organisations across the world for several purposes including automating the documentation of construction progress, monitoring remote or hazardous environments, and providing situational studies in remote settings.
Experts at the MTC in Liverpool aim to work with Boston Dynamics to develop Spot’s capabilities further and prove its worth in the UK to allow the robot to take up a permanent residence in Liverpool.
MTC advanced research engineer Joel Kellam said, “By bringing the robot to the UK on an ‘open-access’ basis, the MTC is looking to establish Spot as a source for good across a multitude of sectors.
“Already, the MTC has begun working with organisations in agriculture and construction to explore how Spot can help to increase efficiencies.
“MTC experts will work with businesses to adapt and integrate Spot’s technologies to apply automation in dynamic and testing environments.”
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Founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd, the MTC’s industrial members include some of the UK’s major global manufacturers.
The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government’s manufacturing strategy.
The MTC is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK.
The MTC houses some of the most advanced manufacturing equipment in the world, creating a high quality environment for the development and demonstration of new technologies on an industrial scale. This provides a unique opportunity for manufacturers to develop new and innovative processes and technologies.
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