Although robots from Boston Dynamics have become synonymous with multifunctional helpers, the Swiss company Swiss-Mile is also working on one interesting one. Their four-wheeled robot can transform from an ATV to a two-legged form in a matter of seconds, transporting even heavier loads, and if testing turns out as planned, people might meet it once in city centers as they deliver shipments.
Swiss-Mile is a subsidiary of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology’s robotics laboratory in Zurich, and its researchers have worked on the robot, which does not yet have an official name, for the past six years. The project was created just for fun, but later the creators realized that their idea could have practical use.
The important thing about a robot is that it combines both wheels and legs, so it can easily change the position in which it moves. If he needs to move somewhere quickly, he chooses his four-legged form, in which he can develop a speed of up to 22 km / h. But once he hits the stairs, he can rise into two-legged form and overcome them with similar steps as a human. Or, for example, he will just rise, as the university’s demonstration video shows.
Swiss-Mile claims that thanks to these transformations, it is “the most versatile robot that has ever been here.” The claim is difficult to verify, however, the robot should be able to tighten up to 50 kilograms, so it is planned to transport heavier shipments than most tested delivery drones can handle. According to the authors, he can also hold these shipments in his robotic hands if necessary.
All these movement aspects make the robot a suitable candidate for movement in urban areas, which are traditionally very rugged. In addition to physical strength, the robot is also equipped with its own artificial intelligence system, which helps it plan routes and learn on the fly, there are also classic LiDAR sensors and GPS.
However, it is not just about parcel deliveries, it is also planned to be used during rescue operations or when mapping buildings. Over time, the robot should even be able to transport loads weighing up to 100 kg. Swiss-Mile plans to launch commercial sales later this year.
Source: Interesting Engineering