Development of man´s best friend
Spot is a real working dog that can perform many tasks. In addition to numerous other applications, Spot can move from point A to point B on its own and at the operator's command.
Nikolaos Petropoulos together with Spot.
Spot came to LKAB in autumn 2020 and now, just over nine months later and after intensive training, this robot dog is both safer and more secure in LKAB’s underground environments. Since Spot is equipped with AI technology, the robot has the ability to recognize environments, adapt to the terrain and develop patterns of movement based on situations it has previously encountered. “Spot has performed a 520-metre-long Autowalk while at the same time scanning the area. Thanks to Spot, we gain access to detailed 3D data from specific or difficult-to-access areas,” says Nikolaos Petropoulos.
The robot dog can navigate through challenging terrain, avoiding obstacles such as vehicles while following an accurate compass reading. At the operator’s command, Spot is sent to a target by means of the Autowalk function. In much the same way as a real working dog is tasked with seeking and tracking, and chooses its path based on information provided by its senses, such as smelling and hearing, Spot is capable of assessing its surroundings and finding its way.“Using various technologies, such as sensors and scanners, which can interact with Spot, we are able to do fantastic things. Together with Luleå University of Technology, we are also developing a navigation system that will enable us to explore areas of the mine to an even greater extent.”
Without a doubt, Spot is making innovative steps towards an even safer LKAB. Although the dog was already preprogrammed to perform a number of impressive tasks, new functions and technologies are being developed to meet LKAB’s specific needs. One of several developments is to use Spot to carry equipment, for example, first-aid kits, infrared cameras, advanced scanners and drones.”This is yet another tool in our toolbox, but it is not meant to replace anything. On the other hand, it will help us to be better at many things that will make work both safer and more efficient. The future is full of so many possibilities,” concludes Nikolaos Petropoulos.