What just happened? While most welcome the speedy advances being made in the world of AI and robotics, some fear a Terminator-style society in which machines enslave humanity. Compounding the latter group's concerns is Xiaomi, which has just announced a quadrupedal robot called CyberDog.
CyebrDog looks like a worrying cross between the murderous dog robots from the War of the Worlds TV show and the murderous dog robots from Black Mirror episode Metalhead. While other companies have created similar machines, the most notable being Boston Dynamics Spot, CyberDog seems more... threatening, somehow, despite being a little slower (3.2 m/s) and lighter (3kg).
Powering CyberDog is Nvidia's "world's smallest AI Supercomputer," Jetson Xavier NX. The robot is covered in 11 sensors and cameras, including touch and ultrasonic sensors, a GPS module, an ultra-wide-angle fisheye lens, and Intel's RealSense D450 camera for depth-sensing, all helping it navigate obstacles as it follows its owner.
In what doesn't sound like a concerning feature at all, CyberDog also has human posture and face recognition abilities that allow it to identify and follow individuals from within a group. "CyberDog can analyze its surroundings in real-time, create navigational maps, plot its destination, and avoid obstacles," said Xiaomi. It can be controlled using voice commands or a smartphone app.
Xiaomi said it doesn't know what applications the CyberDog will have. The company said it intends to release 1,000 units to "Xiaomi fans, engineers and robotics enthusiasts to jointly explore the immense possibility of CyberDog."
The robot comes with three USB-C ports and one HDMI port that can be used to customize its hardware. Xiaomi suggests that lidar sensors, panoramic cameras, and searchlights could be added, making it an even more efficient hunter, perhaps.
Engadget reports that Xiaomi will host an open-source community for tinkering with CyberDog, which may be followed by the construction of a robotics laboratory to lay a pathway for "future innovations."
CyberDog costs 9,999 Yuan, or roughly $1,540, a lot cheaper than Spot's $74,500 price tag.