Looking remarkably like Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot but selling for a fraction of the price, CyberDog is Xiaomi’s first foray into quadruped robotics.
Keen to see what others can do with CyberDog, the Chinese tech company is encouraging robot enthusiasts to get creative with the high-tech contraption and push it to its limits.
Developers will certainly have plenty to play with. Powered by Nvidia’s Jetson Xavier A.I. platform, CyberDog incorporates Xiaomi’s in-house-developed servo motors that give it a wide range of motion and a top speed of 3.2 meters per second. It can even perform complex moves such as backflips.
The robot pooch also includes a vision sensor system for navigation and autonomous object tracking. “This means that CyberDog can analyze its surroundings in real-time, create navigational maps, plot its destination, and avoid obstacles,” Xiaomi says.
Other features include three Type-C ports and 1 HDMI port to connect tools such as “a searchlight, panoramic camera, motion camera, lidar, or more.”
CyberDog can become your robot pet, too (don’t tell Rover, he’ll be devastated), with built-in smarts enabling it to respond to voice commands, though you can also control it via a smartphone app if you’d rather tap than speak.
The Beijing-based company said that for now, it’s releasing 1,000 units of CyberDog to “Xiaomi fans, engineers, and robotic enthusiasts” in the hope that together they’ll be able to discover the full potential of CyberDog.
Those lucky enough to host the robot in their home or workshop will have to fork out 9,999 Chinese yuan (about $1,540) for the privilege, though that’s significantly cheaper than the $74,500 Boston Dynamics is charging for Spot. Of course, we’ll need to see CyberDog in action to properly compare the robots’ abilities and determine if that hefty price difference is justified.
Boston Dynamics began selling its similar-looking Spot quadruped in 2020 as a robot assistant capable of performing a range of tasks across different industries. Some companies have already tested the robot, including Ford, which used it to map one of its facilities, and Norwegian oil producer Aker BP, which deployed it for tasks such as inspection work and data gathering.
To smooth the way for what will hopefully be a productive collaboration campaign, Xiaomi has set up an open-source community to inspire creativity and exchange ideas. We can’t wait to see what it comes up with.