Udayavni Special

The ulti-mutt pet? Chinese tech company develops AI-powered robo-dogs


PTI, Apr 8, 2021, 12:16 PM IST

Source: Official Website/Weilan

Its whip-fast obeys commands and doesn’t leave unpleasant surprises on the floor – meet the AlphaDog, a robotic response to two of China’s burgeoning loves pets, and technology. The high-tech hound uses sensors and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to ‘hear’ and ‘see’ its environment – and can even be taken for walks. “It’s really very similar to a real dog,” says Ma Jie, chief technology officer at Weilan, the company behind the product.

The Nanjing-based creators say their robot dog – which moves at a speed of almost 15 kilometers (nine miles) per hour and spins on the spot like an excited puppy – is the fastest on the market.

With four metal legs, it is more stable than a real dog, Ma explains as one of his team swiftly kicks it to prove the point.

“It can predict the friction and height of the ground (to) adjust its height, adjust the stride frequency, and adapt to the environment,” he tells AFP, as the robot slowly navigates going up a set of stairs.

Its creators are using 5G technology, super-fast internet speeds with immediate reaction times, to make the robot operate autonomously.

Ma studied reinforcement learning – the study of how to reinforce actions through reward or punishment – at the University of Oxford and says he has used that knowledge to inform how the AI dog mimics canine habits.

Dog ownership was banned under the leadership of communist China’s founder Mao Zedong – but has since boomed dramatically.

And in the first month of sales, more than 1,800 AlphaDogs have trotted off the shelves, despite the hefty price tag of 16,000 yuan ($2,400).

“Orders are mostly from computer developers, tech geeks, and also kids, who really seem to like it,” said Ma.
Robot rollout
As China seeks to upskill its workforce, Beijing has been making huge investments in robotics and AI.

Robots are already used to deliver parcels, serve in restaurants, offer information at stations, and even take throat swabs for Covid-19 tests.

The Weilan workshop is staffed by young tech enthusiasts, filled with pencil design sketches and a central obstacle route of stairs and slopes for the machines to clunk over in testing.

Developers there hope future uses of their four-legged friend could benefit the visually impaired.

“To help the disabled is an important developing direction for us,” says Ma. “When the robot dog has the function of vision, hearing, and dialogue too, it can easily interact with disabled people, and lead them to the supermarket or the bus.”

Future software updates will include the dog “barking” – and beyond that, even add human voices to allow conversations between pet and owner.

There is also a larger “enterprise” dog model, designed for industrial inspections of machinery or pipes.

The next generation of the AlphaDog in pet form could also introduce “personalities” to the dog’s toolkit to make them even more canine-like, as well as extend its somewhat brief battery life.

Udayavani is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest news.

Top News

COVID-19: Karnataka posts 19,067 cases and 81 deaths

Bus services remain crippled as transport employees’ stir enters 12th day

PM Modi should resign owning responsibility for COVID-19 surge: Mamata

BJP only knows to loot, instigate riots and kill people: Mamata Banerjee

Brokerages downgrade India’s GDP growth projections for FY’22 amid resurgence of Covid cases

New modus operandi by fraudsters to withdraw money from ATMs

K’taka CM Yediyurappa in hospital for COVID treatment is stable and recovering




Related Articles More

Nasa spacecraft leaves mess after grabbing asteroid samples

Samsung aims to grow over twofold in monitor market

Government plans to have large fleet of Hydrogen-run buses in India

Cyber agency cautions users against certain weaknesses detected in WhatsApp

Researchers led by Indian-origin scientist identify genes that fight virus causing COVID-19

MUST WATCH

Udayavani 18-April-2021 News Bulletin

SP slaps local vendor for not wearing mask

George Kadiyali | Can We Grow More Food on Less Land?

Udayavani 17-April-2021 News Bulletin

The fear of Covid 2nd Wave!!

Latest Additions

COVID-19: Karnataka posts 19,067 cases and 81 deaths

RCB beats KKR by 38 runs

Railways to run ”Oxygen Express” to meet high demand amid surge in COVID-19 cases

BJP seeks FIR against Malik for ”false” charges on Remdesivir supply

Tata Steel, SAIL, AMNS India supplying oxygen for treatment of COVID-19 patients

Thanks for visiting Udayavani

You seem to have an Ad Blocker on.
To continue reading, please turn it off or whitelist Udayavani.