Astro, the four-legged robot that behaves like a real dog

Press Release

Like any well-trained dog, this quadruped robot includes orders such as “sit”, “lie down” and “stand”. In the long term, this robotic canid can help rescuers, policemen and visually impaired people.

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University in the United States have just presented a robot of a new kind. It has the quadruped gaits of a dog with the latest advances in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning that allow it to discover and interact with the world by itself, like a real dog. That’s what sets it apart from Spot, the robot dog from Boston Dynamics.

The development of the robot, called Astro, required the collaboration of two teams, one specialized in robotics and the other in neuroscience, cognition and artificial intelligence. Quadrupeds of this kind are relatively rare, and it is distinguished by a 3D printed head that contains the electronic brain.

A brain of 4 teraflops

The robotic dog incorporates many sensors, such as cameras, directional microphones, gas sensors and even radar. Its brain is composed of two Nvidia Jetson TX2’s for a total computing power of four teraflops. Astro is trained like a dog to perform tasks, thanks to deep learning techniques including a deep neural network.

This robot dog already understands commands like “sit”, “stand” and “lie down”. The researchers intend to teach it to understand gestures, different languages, to recognize human faces and other dogs, and even to cooperate with drones. Eventually, it could be used to detect weapons and explosives, to serve as a guide dog, to carry out medical surveillance, or to assist rescue teams.

Warren Morrison