Robot dog can navigate unknown terrain with the help of a flying drone

Every now and again, we share videos of advances in robotics with you. Sometimes it’s inspiring – like these flying drones that can assemble a rope bridge that a human can walk across – and sometimes it’s just downright creepy, like watching people kick Darpa’s evil-looking ‘Big Dog’.

The video above is somewhere between those two points, and shows a four-legged dog-like robot from Autonomous Systems Lab navigating a route through rough terrain by communicating with a drone flying ahead.

While it’s just a lab conditions demo for now, it’s pretty incredible that the aerial drone can be used to map out (visually, and as an elevation map) an area and that data is then processed by the walking robot, so it can work out the best route to get to its destination.

It’s not a pre-planned route either; if new obstacles occur long the way, the ‘dog’ will reassess the planned route to find the best way forward.

➤ Collaborative Navigation for Flying and Walking Robots [YouTube via Engadget]

Read next: UK spying on its own citizens hasn’t justified the cost to human rights