UniSA Has a New $25,000 Quadruped Robot and His Name is Clive

UniSA Has a New $25,000 Quadruped Robot and His Name is Clive
Image: UniSA (via screenshot)

The University of South Australia has introduced Clive, a quadruped robot that has been described as “flexible” and “energetic”. In other words, he’s a good boi.

Clive is UniSA’s first ‘off-the-shelf quadruped robot’. The uni said the bot is flexible, agile, versatile, energetic and communicative. Clive is an autonomous robot and is pinned to help advance research in a number of fields.

Here he is in action:

Make sure you watch the last 10 seconds of that vid, it’s my favourite part.

Clive consists of about 13 motors and cameras on the front of its face, under its chin, both sides of its body and underneath, giving the bot an almost 360-degree view. Clive can act completely autonomously or under human control.

It can go upstairs and downstairs and can handle deep terrain. Clive can change its height, so it can drop down and crawl along the floor and then return to normal height and go back to walking or running speed. It costs a cool $25,000 and weighs around 13kg.

Clive is very similar to Spot, the quadruped robot from Boston Dynamics. Spot is most often compared to a dog because of its size and how it walks on four legs. Its mannerisms truly can be likened to that of a dog.

Spot has a number of jobs, from fighting fires to working in Aussie mines. But most recently, Spot took up a gig as a security guard at Pompeii, protecting the remains and keeping an eye on relic hunters.

UniSA expects Clive to have a similar role.

According to Clive’s mentor, Dr James Walsh, one of the big areas where Clive could be used is in remote inspection – anywhere where it’s too dangerous to send in a human, such as a collapsed building or a fire or even a war zone.

“Quadrupeds like Clive are now commonly used for remote inspections by defence, space, mining and utility companies, and for search and rescue, but we are interested in taking his capabilities much further,” Walsh said.

“He’s going to prove invaluable in our augmented and virtual reality research at IVE, helping us to see how Clive perceives the world and how we can leverage that for everyday scenarios.”

Walsh wants to use Clive to remove the ‘creepy’ stigma dog-like quadrupeds have.

“People have different reactions to quadrupeds like Clive. Some people find him confronting as they don’t know how he sees or perceives them, given that he can act autonomously,” he added.

“We want to find a way for Clive to be able to communicate with those around him, so he becomes less of a black box and more of a two-way communication between human and robot.”

Clive lives at the university’s Australian Research Centre for Interactive and Virtual Environments (IVE), based at Mawson Lakes, and comes via Unitree.