The Boston Dynamics robot dogs now patrolling Kia’s South Korea factory

When you picture a car factory, what comes to mind? Probably a lot of steel surfaces, loud noises, and impossibly efficient production lines. Well, what if we told you that at one factory, there are some notable new employees in the security department that probably did not come to mind. And it has four legs, cameras for eyes, and a distinctive mechanical sound to its walk. Introducing: the Boston Dynamics robot dogs that are now patrolling Kia’s Gyeonggi Province factory in South Korea.

About Boston Dynamics robot dogs

Kia’s new robot guard dogs were created by Boston Dynamics, a US engineering and robotics design company founded in 1992. Boston Dynamics’ mission has always been “creating robots with advanced mobility, dexterity and intelligence”, and the robot dogs – named Spot – are exactly that. 

Spot is a dynamically balanced, four-legged robot designed to navigate tough terrains with ease. With thermal cameras, 3D lidar sensors and a range of other features, Spot autonomously captures data and leverages AI to serve insights to the company using it. Spot is being used by companies around the world to drive efficiency, improve safety and reduce human error in their supply chain and production operations. 

Boston Dynamics robot dog

Boston Dynamics robot dogs look similar to this robot.

Spot’s job as Kia’s Factory Service Safety Robot

Hiring Spot came after the Hyundai Group acquired Boston Dynamics earlier this year, and the robot dogs have been given an important role at the Gyeonggi Province Kia factory. They’ll be supporting the human security team on patrols at night, sending real-time images back to the control centre and raising the alarm if they detect an emergency. 

Factory Service Safety Robot dogs conduct patrols autonomously, and can detect and monitor fire hazards, security risks and people and even team up with other Spots to perform more thorough investigations when needed. According to Kia’s spokesperson, Dong Jon Hyun, head of Hyundai Motor Group Robotics Lab.

According to Boston Dynamics, global mining and energy companies Woodside and BP have also bolstered their operations with Spot, and Tesla is developing something similar – a humanoid robot to help with lifting and carrying.

Why some people are worried

This futuristic arrangement has some people concerned over the risks of bringing intelligent robots into everyday human life. Specifically, that they could be weaponised and misused

But according to Kia, that’s not on the cards. Speaking to Carsguide, Hyundai said that it agrees with Boston Dynamics’ philosophy of not weaponising the robots.

 

Interested in the cutting-edge technology that’s bringing the automotive industry’s future forward? Check out the world’s first flying car, the PAL-V Liberty, which has already hit the streets in Europe.