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A New 3-in-1 Robot Has Wheels for Feet and Runs for 90 Minutes

And it's coming next year.

A New 3-in-1 Robot Has Wheels for Feet and Runs for 90 Minutes
Thy ANYmal standing up and balancing on its back wheels. The ANYmal/Swiss-Mile

The Swiss-Mile Robot, also known as ANYmal, can walk, roll, or stand up on its four-wheeled legs.

The ANYmal, first developed by ANYbotics, was quite charming with its four legs when it was tested in one of the world’s largest offshore converter platforms in the North Sea back in 2018. 

The robot, however, got more energy-efficient and much more interesting when its legs were improved with wheels, enabling it to roll and reach greater distances.

The latest version of the ANYmal, which features more complex motions such as crawling and standing up, was developed by Swiss public research university ETH Zurich’s spin-off company Swiss-Mile.

The robot can roll on most flat surfaces such as floors and sidewalks with its motorized wheels and can reach travel speeds up to 14 mph (22km/h) in a much more energy-efficient way than walking. Its bendable legs also work as shock absorbers when rolling down a set of stairs. 

The ANYmal could lock the wheels that are attached to its legs and walk when needed, like steps or stairs and it can stand up by rolling on its back legs and balancing itself by analyzing data from its inertial measurement units and the measurements of its 16 motors in its legs and wheels.

With a combination of cameras, GPS, and LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensors, ANYmal can overcome any obstacles and navigate indoor and outdoor urban environments while carrying a maximum payload of 110 lbs (50 kg) on its back. The robot can stand up, grab the packages using its front legs as arms, and put them in its cargo compartment all by itself.

The robot can be fully recharged in approximately three hours and has a runtime of 90 minutes. With its thermal, acoustic, and optical sensors, the ANYmal can also be used as a large-scale surveillance robot, with its ability to detect changes in the environment by comparing live data with the pre-mapped state of the environment.

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“We deploy a novel wheeled-legged robot for large-scale reality capture through digital twins, last-mile delivery problems, and logistics in urban environments” announces Swiss-Mile. The company aims to ease the urban population’s last-mile delivery challenges and help decrease the CO2 emissions with this small-scale autonomous robot.

The ANYmal is expected to be on the market as soon as next year but you can watch a video of the robot racing a Tesla and doing some stunts below.

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