Researchers at Pisa University, are using robot dogs to monitor the health of forest plant and insect life. The four-legged AI bots are preprogrammed and able to traverse the forest floor gathering information which is then given to botanists and other departments as well as other colleagues throughout Europe. They have a battery life of 2 hours and return to home base for battery swaps when needed.
“It reproduces the human locomotion system, and in general the animal locomotion system, so he (the robot) is very agile and he is also able to walk over really irregular and rough terrain,” said Franco Angelini.
Click on the image below to open the video in another link.
“It can be pre-programmed, but of course it has a certain level of autonomy and it can decide for itself,” said Manolo Garabini, professor at the University of Pisa and head of the Natural Intelligence project.
Professor Garabini also added that the robot dogs are capable of helping to identify damage from invasive species in the forest as well.
“For example wild boars can ruin the terrain, can ruin the ground and prevent the proper growth of new small plants, and this of course, in the long term, can definitely damage a given habitat,” said Garabini.
Currently, the robots are being used in the forests at San Rossore but once they are finished there they will be heading to the Italian Alps to gather more environmental data.