Dogs and firefighters go hand-in-hand. What's more 'fire station' than a loyal Dalmatian beside a fire truck.
But now, a new 'dog' is being asked to help out in an emergency, and it's a little bit ... different.
In this case, we're talking about a robot dog. Spot is the signature bot made by Boston Dynamics, an innovative robotics company known for its various impressive machines. (This includes Atlas, a humanoid bot that can perform some amazing acrobatics!)
Spot is modelled after a real dog, and this quadruped (four-legged) machine can get into all sorts of spaces with ease. It can climb stairs, avoid obstacles, and be rigged up to carry all sorts of things. (It can even dance!)
Now a program run by Ontario Power Generation, alongside Ontario Tech University and the Oshawa Fire Department, is testing its abilities to solve problems in situations that are too dangerous for humans, such as gas or chemical leaks and fires.
Yep. Spot is being trained to be a firefighting robot dog!
Easy to control, able to identify issues
One of the reasons that Spot is so perfect for this role is obvious. It is a robot, not a living thing, and therefore is far more resistant to smoke, heat, or other hazards.
But Spot is also easy to control remotely, which means that people can use it as a drone to inspect areas for issues and determine whether situations are safe. And it can even independently handle some problems on its own.
In the most impressive display in the tests, a Spot bot fitted with a fire extinguisher was able to use infrared cameras to locate and put out a fire without any help from a human operator. Right on, Spot! Good dog, you're hired!
Watch Spot do its thing below in this video report from Ontario Power Generation.