UniSA secures quadruped robot for research
University of South Australia has purchased its first quadruped robot, Clive, (a Unitree Go 1) for the Australian Research Centre for Interactive and Virtual Environments (IVE) in Mawson Lakes.
The $25,000 robot is equipped with 13 motors and fixed with multiple cameras to ensure a near 360-degree view of its environment, and is being trained to recognise objects and people, and eventually understand human gestures.
Project lead Dr James Walsh, an Enterprise Fellow at UniSA STEM, said with the project the university hopes to advance research into the use of quadrupedal robots in multiple areas.
“Quadrupeds like Clive are now commonly used for remote inspections by defence, space, mining and utility companies, and for search and rescue, but we are interested in taking his capabilities much further,” he said. “He’s going to prove invaluable in our augmented and virtual reality research at IVE, helping us to see how Clive perceives the world and how we can leverage that for everyday scenarios.”
Conscious that people have different reactions to autonomous robots, the university is looking for ways for Clive to able to communicate with those around him. “[We want to ensure] he becomes less of a black box and more of a two-way communication between human and robot,” Walsh said.
One potential application for the technology is conducting inspections in airports, where strict regulations restrict the use of aerial drones, he said.
“Clive could do inspections at Adelaide Airport, for example, without the risk of being sucked into a jet engine.”
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