Good ol' Boston Dynamics has been keeping me in the loop with updates to its rarest pupper, Spot. Aside from dancing to rock and/or roll (opens in new tab), he's bedcoming a little more autonomous to help him carry out his many, crucial roles at manufacturing plants and warehouses across the globe.
Not only does the upgraded Spot 3.2 use new, improved thermal imaging, he's also able to stick to strict paths on autonomous missions; stop, look, and listen before walking out at factory crosswalks; and even shuffle around obstacles without anyone holding his paw.
The footage of him teetering around a toppled bin (opens in new tab) is honestly one of the most adorable things I've seen in weeks (skip ahead to 1:28), but it's also incredibly impressive. There's the option to switch on obstacle avoidance, or have him refuse to deviate from the path to walk around obstacles. There's a danger in either case since that's around $75,000 worth of tech that'll need repairs if it stumbles.
Still, the Boston Dynamics robots are pretty hardy. And while they haven't yet been fitted with explosion proofing like the refuelling robots of China (opens in new tab), they can take a hit or two as exemplified in their parkour antics (opens in new tab).
There's a Spot currently trotting around, supporting work at GlobalFoundries' manufacturing facility in Vermont (opens in new tab). That's a chip manufacturer for Apple, Qualcomm, Asus, Google and many more, in case you didn't know.
GlobalFoundries actually employed Spot in order to avoid another chip shortage; by running automated inspection missions with Spot, the fab can collect data more efficiently and "build models that better predict planned maintenance and downtime," the blog says.
If Spot's latest update is any indicator, that logistical efficiency is about to skyrocket. But really, what a good boy he is: making sure it's safe before crossing the factory floor *swoon*