“Robot Dogs” – Alberta Shell Refinery’s New Employees

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We are now entering the era of advanced robotic automation. Recently, Shell’s Scotford Complex, situated in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta, got two new robot dogs as their “employees.”

Alberta Shell Refinery Gets Robot Dogs

The Alberta Shell refinery recently got two new robot dogs. These are robots from Boston Dynamics. They are called “Spot.” You might have seen a lot of videos on the internet of these dogs doing various maneuvers.  

Alberta Shell Refinery Gets Robot Dogs
"Robot Dogs" - Alberta Shell Refinery's New Employees 3

Apparently, Shell wants these two robots to do the “riskier” and “mundane” tasks at the plant.

“They’re going to start doing inspections in our plants,” said Conal MacMillan with Shell Scotford. “They’ll be able to 3D image some of our units and do some thermal scanning also.”

According to MacMillan, each robot is worth around CAD 100,000. They decided to add these robots to the team because the site observed positive results with other robotics.

“We brought in drones several years ago, and we have certified drone pilots at our site — we’ve (also) been using tank-feeding robots,” MacMillan said.

Boston Dynamics is a US-based company that specializes in making robots. They have a bunch of variety when it comes to robots. They also have the “Atlas” humanoid robot. However, Spot is their only robot that is available for commercial sales and use.

The spot is a 65-pound industrial robot dog that helps to do data collection and inspections. It uses “remote operation and autonomous sensing.”

Their Role At The Site

Macmillan highlighted that the two robots came to the Shell site in December. Because of how unique they are, they have caught a lot of attention from the workers.

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“We definitely have employees who want to pet the dog —  (or) more so probably use the controller and play with the dog,” he said. “It draws a crowd. There’s definitely interest and curiosity towards these robot dogs.”

Boston Dynamics Spot
"Robot Dogs" - Alberta Shell Refinery's New Employees 4

The initial plan is to get the robot dogs to do simple inspection tasks and simple imaging tasks. Then, over time make them learn more routes around the refinery so that they can help with security and safety.

“In the event of an emergency… we could send them in to test conditions for any firefighters we have on our site responding so we can keep them safe as well,” MacMillan said.

The Shell Scotford Complex is located in Edmonton’s northeast in Fort Saskatchewan, and it employs around 1,300 people.

Boston Dynamics also plans to launch a “future variant” of Spot in 2022 designed for in-house use.

Article Reference VIA

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