After the American robot dog Spot, from the company Boston Dynamics, here is AlphaDog, a new high-tech companion, designed by the Chinese firm Weilan.
Intended for the general public, this robotic doggie equipped with artificial intelligence carbide detectors, which allows it to "hear" and "see" its environment.
But you can also just take it for a walk.
Even if it has neither a tail nor a head, "it's just like a real dog," says Ma Jie, technology manager at Weilan, the company behind the prototype.
The quadruped robot can also move independently using 5G mobile internet, with ultra-fast response time.
"It detects the friction and the level of the ground in order to adapt its height and the speed of its steps", explains Ma Jie, while the demonstrator robot slowly but surely begins to climb a staircase.
It was at Oxford that Ma Jie studied reinforcement learning, an artificial intelligence technique that “trains” robots through rewards or punishment.
He used this technique to program his robot based on canine behavior.
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And the success is there: more than 1,800 AlphaDogs were sold from their first month on the market, for a sum of 16,000 yuan, or around 2,000 €.
"The orders come mainly from computer developers, geeks, but also children, who really seem to love it," confirms Mr. Ma. Ultimately, the creators of the Chinese robot dog intend to put it at the service of blind.
“When he also has the dialogue function, he will be able to communicate with the disabled and take them to the supermarket or to the bus stop,” explains Ma Jie.
Not enough to compete with the American Spot, which since 2018 has mainly intervened in rescue and search missions.