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A Chinese robot running faster than its shadow

A Chinese robot running faster than its shadow

(Nanjing) A better dog: obeys, does not bark, does not bite, and leaves fewer memories on the carpet. Her Chinese designer assures her that her robot, called AlphaDog, is the fastest in the world.


Helen Roxburg
France Media

The high-tech dog, equipped with detection devices, works on artificial intelligence, which allows him to “hear” and “see” his environment. But you can also take it for a walk.

“It’s like a real dog,” says Ma Jie, technology director at Weilan, the Nanjing company behind the prototype, even if it had neither a tail nor a head.

Using 15 km / h at top speed, AlphaDog claims the world record in racing for a metal animal. It’s also more stable than a real dog, its designers explained, with a large kick in the back as a guide.

Unlike the common remote controlled dog, the four-legged robot moves freely in its environment using 5G mobile internet, with a very fast response time.

“It senses friction and the ground level to adjust its height and step speed,” says Ma, as the experimental robot takes off slowly but surely to climb a ladder.

Manual or plant dog

At Oxford, Magi studied reinforcement learning, an artificial intelligence technique that “trains” robots with rewards or punishment.

Use this technology to program a robot based on the dogs’ behavior.

AlphaDog matches two of the common templates well in China today: technology and pets.

The latter had disappeared from circulation in the early decades of the communist regime, but had returned in the past twenty years.

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As a result, more than 1,800 AlphaDog dogs have been sold since their first month on the market, for a salary amount of 16,000 yuan (2,000 euros).

“The requests are mostly coming from computer developers and geeks, but also kids, who seem to really like it,” says Ma.

While Beijing is investing heavily in new technologies, especially artificial intelligence, robots are already on the scene such as package delivery, waiters in restaurants, and even those responsible for testing COVID-19.

Ultimately, the creators of the Chinese robot intend to put it in the service of the blind.

“When he also has a dialogue function, he will be able to communicate with the disabled and take them to the supermarket or the bus station,” says Ma.

In the Enterprise edition, a larger AlphaDog can be used to inspect industrial machinery or pipelines.

The next generation could also see a robot having a “personality” of the customer’s choice: more like a stature or very much like a bull …