Watch This Pack of Headless Robotic Dogs Pull a Loaded Semi Truck Across a Parking Lot

Boston Dynamics published a YouTube video showcasing the capability of its latest creation, SpotMini, just as it nears production.

byChris Chin| UPDATED Jul 16, 2019 3:21 AM
Watch This Pack of Headless Robotic Dogs Pull a Loaded Semi Truck Across a Parking Lot

With recent advancements in artificial intelligence and automation, robots can now perform some eerily human-like tasks, as well as some that people like us could never dream of doing. In this particular case, we're talking about Boston Dynamics’ most recent video footage showcasing its latest creation, SpotMini. To prove how capable its dog-like and headless robots are, the company rounded up about 10 of them, daisy chained them together, then proceeded to pull a large heavy-duty box truck clear across a vacant parking lot.

SpotMini is essentially a shrunken-down version of the engineering firm’s main project, BigDog, which started life as a robotic pack mule prototype for transporting goods to military groups deployed in areas where more traditional transport vehicles can’t go.

Weighing in at 66 pounds and roughly the size of a large coffee table, Boston Dynamics claims SpotMini has the payload capacity of around 31 pounds and can last for as long as 90 minutes on a single charge of its battery pack, depending on what activities it's taking part in.

“It only takes 10 Spotpower (SP) to haul a truck across the Boston Dynamics parking lot (~1 degree uphill, truck in neutral). These Spot robots are coming off the production line now and will be available for a range of applications soon,” wrote the engineering firm in the description of its video.

The company claims SpotMini is considerably more advanced than any of its predecessors, sporting new sensory gear that allows the robot to navigate better. Boston Dynamics also says SpotMini is its quietest robot ever, especially after its original military-based project, BigDog, was shelved because it was deemed too loud for combat.

Born as a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the robotics engineering firm made a name of for itself developing and building these very capable, if not slightly creepy, headless robodogs. With the help of funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, Boston Dynamics researched and developed these machines to come up with BigDog. Over the years, the company released videos of its progress by posting videos of its engineers “teaching” them to do things, like running obstacle courses, opening doors, and even dancing.

The future of automation might look bright in terms of advancements in artificial intelligence and robotics. But on the flipside, it could be downright creepy, especially when you factor in the potential unpredictable risks of AI and the concept of a computerized machine becoming self-aware. That, or I’ve been watching too many Terminator movies lately.