Hyundai Motor Deploys Quadruped Robot for Field Tests at Subsidiary Kia Motor

Boston Dynamics, a U.S.-based subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group, has test-run its factory safety service robot – a dry-run to test the field operation of its robotics products for various industrial tasks.

The Korean automotive group said that the robotics company’s factory safety service robot is undergoing a pilot operation at its subsidiary Kia Motor’s   factory here in Korea to check whether it works properly as programmed or not at various industrial workplace scenarios.  

Dubbed as “Spot”, the Boston Dynamics’ quadruped robot comes built with artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous navigation, tele-operation technologies, and computing payload features. These high-end features enable office personnel to observe and survey industrial areas remotely.

Developed by the automotive group’s Robotics Lab, the computing payload is a sort of mobile computing system that comes built with processors, I/Os and network capabilities to process and send back and force sensing data.   

As with the case, the Spot moving robot is able to detect people around it, monitor high-temperature situations and potential fire hazards, thanks to its thermal camera and 3D LiDAR sensor.

Using an AI technology-based navigation feature, the robot can learn data to autonomously moves through its designated patrol area at the sites.  

AI Comes On Top

Dubbed as “Spot”, Boston Robotics’ quadruped moving robot shares on-site factory photos and activity log-on information with a control center to perform a real-time monitoring

The Spot robot’s AI technology also helps it to detect dangers and send alarms to managers through the secure webpage.

Based on these functions, the robot not only provides real-time sharing of photos of on-site situations and an activity log with the control center, but also support a rapid response in the event of an emergency by sounding an alarm on the control webpage.

Managers can switch to manual teleoperation whenever needed to conduct a closer look at important industrial sites.

It is also possible to connect multiple Factory Service Safety Robots to the control system to simultaneously check various zones.

The quadruped robot is able to navigate through narrow spaces as well as identify blind areas that are hard to see with the human eye.

Applying the group’s technologies to Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot also provides the Robot with enhanced autonomy features.

Based on the group’s experience with development of service robots, the Robot is equipped with diverse technologies suitable for autonomous patrol services within industrial site environments, including task management and deep learning-based vision technology.  

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The group has applied several of its own technologies to the Robot, including AI for detecting people, thermal camera for detecting high-temperature risks, LiDAR for recognizing door openings, and navigation technology that allows it to move autonomously along designated areas within industrial sites—all of which can be expanded to other types of mobile robot platforms.  

Through the pilot operation at Kia’s plant in Korea, the Group will use the Robot to support late-night security patrols and create a safer environment for workers.

The group will also go through the robot’s proof of concept and assess its effectiveness as well as its applicability before expanding its patrol areas and reviewing additional deployment to other industrial sites.  

Earlier this year, the group acquired a controlling interest in Boston Dynamics to develop robotic technologies that enhance people’s lives and promote safety.

The advancement of robotics technologies will lend synergies to the Group’s industrial sites, autonomous vehicles, and future Urban Air Mobility (UAM) solutions.

“The factory safety service robot autonomously moves and checks areas at dawn when workers leave their workplace and helps early morning patrols monitor safety matters more conveniently,” the group said.

“The Factory Safety Service Robot is the first collaboration project with Boston Dynamics. The robot will help detect risks and secure people’s safety at industrial sites,” said Hyun Dong-jin, head of Hyundai Motor Group Robotics Lab. “We will also continue to create smart services that detect dangers at industrial sites and help create a safe work environment through continuous collaboration with Boston Dynamics.”