Forget about Optimus Prime and Megatron! Swiss experts have developed a four-wheeled robot that can rear up on its hind legs and spin like a performing poodle.
Developed by ETH Zürich spin-off Swiss-Mile, the agile bot that can reach speeds of up to 14 mph (23 kph) is the latest iteration of the 'ANYMal' robot concept.
The design — which superficially resembles Boston Dynamics' robot dog, Spot — has previously been shown using its AI to get back up after being kicked over.
In a newly-released video, the robot is shown not only performing its standing trick, but also wheeling along and taking ascending and descending steps in its stride.
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explained roboticist and ANYmal developer Marko Bjelonic of ETH Zürich.
'Our wheeled-legged robot performs exceptional locomotion skills with reinforcement learning driving at speeds of up to 6.2 m/s (22.32 km/h or 13.87 miles/h), overcoming obstacles and standing up on two legs.'
According to Swiss-Mile, their ANYMal robot is expected to find application in so-called 'last mile' delivery challenges.
This is the the movement of goods from a large-scale transport hub to a recipient at a specific destination.
'With both legs and wheels, our robot outperforms state-of-the-art wheeled delivery platforms as well as lightweight delivery drones,' Dr Bjelonic added.
The team claims that ANYMal is up to 83 per cent more efficient than comparable legged robots.
The robot, Swiss-Mile continued, can carry a maximum payload of 110 lbs (50 kg).
'It is the only solution capable of carrying tools, materials, goods, and sensors over long distances with energy efficiency and speed while overcoming challenging obstacles like steps and stairs.'
ANYmal's design, he added, also enables 'seamless navigation in indoor and outdoor urban environments.'
'The urban population [ratio] is 74 per cent in Switzerland and 56 per cent worldwide,' Swiss-Mile explained on their website.
'This share will increase even more in the future, requiring smart solutions to make life in cities more liveable.
'With this growth, more goods are being moved from place to place than ever before,' they continued — leading, they noted, to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions and traffic congestion unless better solutions can be developed.
'This last-mile delivery challenge requires electric, small-scale autonomous solutions,' just like ANYMal, they concluded.