Hyundai Motor Group has introduced its so called factory safety service robot for industrial site safety, and announced pilot operation at a Kia plant in South Korea.

The robot is based on Boston Dynamics’ quadruped robot, Spot, with applied artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous navigation, teleoperation technologies, and computing payload (AI Processing Service Unit) developed by the group’s robotics lab for use on various industrial tasks.

“The robot is the first collaboration project with Boston Dynamics [and] will help detect risks and secure people’s safety in industrial sites,” said Dong Jin Hyun, head of the group’s robotics lab

With an integrated thermal camera and 3D LiDAR, the robot is able to detect persons around it, monitor high temperature situations and potential fire hazards, and perceive whether a door is open or closed.

The robot can be remote controlled through a secure webpage that provides a livestream of its movements around the plant, enabling office personnel to remotely observe industrial areas. The AI technology also allows the robot to detect dangers and send alarms to managers through the secure webpage.

The robot provides real time sharing of photos of on site situations and an activity log with the control centre as well as 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 robots to the control system to simultaneously check various zones.

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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 technology to Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot also provides enhanced autonomy features. Based on the group’s experience with development of service robots, this robot is equipped with diverse technology suitable for autonomous patrol services within industrial site environments, including task management and deep learning-based vision technology.

The group has applied its own technology to the robot, including AI for detecting people, thermal camera for detecting high temperature risks, LiDAR for recognising 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 the Kia plant, 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.