After the American robot dog Spot, of Boston Dynamics, here is AlphaDog, a new high-tech companion, designed by Chinese company Weilan. Dedicated to the general public, this robotic dog is equipped with artificial intelligence carbide detectors, which allow it to “hear” and “see” its environment. But you can also take it for a walk. “It’s like a real dog,” says Ma Jie, technology director at Weilan, the company behind the prototype, even if it had neither a tail nor a head.
The four-legged robot can also move autonomously using 5G mobile internet, with an ultra-fast response time. “It detects friction and ground level in order to adjust its height and pace of steps,” explains Magi, as the pretend robot begins slowly but surely to ascend the ladder. At Oxford, Magi studied reinforcement learning, an artificial intelligence technique that “trains” robots with rewards or punishment. Use this technology to program a robot based on the dogs’ behavior.
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And the success is there: more than 1,800 AlphaDogs have been sold from their first month on the market, for 16,000 yuan, or about 2,000 euros. “The requests are mainly coming from computer developers, geeks, but also kids, who seem to really like them,” Ma asserts. In the end, the creators of the Chinese robot dog intend to put it in the service of the blind. “When he also has a dialogue function, he will be able to communicate with the disabled and take them to the supermarket or the bus station,” explains Magi. It is not enough to compete with the American Spot, which since 2018 has mainly intervened in rescue and search missions