Spot the Robot Dog Took Himself on a Walk Around the Snowy Hydro

Spot the Robot Dog Took Himself on a Walk Around the Snowy Hydro
Image: Boston Dynamics

Spot the Dog, a delightful little robotic dog that we love at Gizmodo Australia, has completed a trial at Snowy Hydro.

Spot’s trial at Snowy Hydro, a network of hydro renewable energy power stations that make up one-third of renewable energy in Australia, is just the robotic dog’s latest gig (we’ve been covering his antics quite a bit). Last year, after arriving for sale in Australia, he was put to work in Aussie mines and stuffed into a box. Spot was also most recently patrolling the ruins of Pompeii. Unfortunately, he was also weaponised in an act that Boston Dynamics, the makers of Spot the Dog, have condemned.

But now we’re starting to see Spot more and more. Not in a way that’s taking jobs away from people, but mostly in safety and inspection duties. Say, for example, if there were a building collapse or a hazardous environment, Spot could enter said environment and interact with things or send through a live camera feed without risking human life.

Such is the case with Snowy Hydro, where Spot recently performed a test, in collaboration with Emesent to test LiDAR mapping.

“Snowy Hydro teams regularly investigate ways new technology can enhance existing operations, from digital engineering tools to remotely operated weather measurement systems,” the Snowy Hydro June newsletter reads.

“The robotic dog, named Spot, demonstrated impressive skills by climbing several sets of stairs inside Tumut 2 Power Station. An initial scan of the area allowed the operator to set waypoints for Spot and then control its progress remotely from the floor above. In confined spaces, a camera can be attached to Spot’s back to capture imagery, or a manipulating arm connected to open doors, turn valves or pull levers.

“The trials gave the Snowy team the opportunity to understand Hovermap’s capabilities and explore the potential for a business case towards greater safety and productivity using platforms and drones. Following a debrief of Spot’s performance during the trials, the Snowy and Emesent teams will be able to work together to adapt the solutions and provide input to Hovermap’s product development roadmap.”

Now, look, Spot isn’t guaranteed a job at Snowy Hydro, but this appeared to be a successful trial run of drone and LiDAR tech (area-generated imagery via sensors), at least according to Snowy Hydro.

Additionally, Snowy Hydro announced its acquisition of two additional Starlink satellite dishes, after acquiring its first dish during the 2021 service beta. The new dishes will service Snowy Hydro offices at Polo Flat, Tooma Dam cottage and the Hunter Power Project site office.

But let’s not steal the spotlight from our little mate Spot.

“The idea is to have robotic dogs equipped with sensing and autonomic capabilities living on the site.” Emesent co-founder Farid Kendoul told ABC News.

“They’re pre-programmed to inspect areas of interest and send an alarm to the users.”

We may see Spot and drones like him become a staple of hazardous industries.

Good on you, little buddy. Please do not come after me during the robot uprising.