Spot, the Boston Dynamics robot dog, watches over the ruins of Pompeii

The Italian tourist site is equipped with a robot dog to monitor its surroundings. Far from being a mere attraction, Spot accomplishes complicated human access missions.

Under the intrigued eyes of many tourists, a robot dog wanders the aisles of the famous Pompeii archeological site. Manufactured by the Boston Dynamics company and named Spot, this cute animal in the process was not understood on most torrentielles that hit this week in Italy. The children, who observe him with curiosity, already seem to adore him and prefer him to the remnants of ancient Rome.

His goal? “Monitor and preserve the site, including the underground structures, where the security conditions are not met to let in (staff, ed.), As in the many very narrow and dangerous tunnels of the site,” he explained proudly to the AFP the director of the site, the German Gabriel Zuchtriegel.

Exploration missions

The archeological site opens the remains of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, south of Naples, buried during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. It is full of tunnels or cavities that are not easy to access, which makes the help of the little Spot in black and yellow very valuable.

From the size of a Golden Retriever, it is controlled remotely thanks to a tablet, as shown by Valerio Brunelli, an employee of Leica Geosystem, the company that manages the robot’s exploration missions inside Pompeii.

Placed a few meters behind the Spot, the operator’s son can drive it to the site, even if the Spot is able to avoid any obstacles. However, one must be careful when walking: “Nobody wants to receive their 70 kilos on their feet”, jokes Valerio Brunelli.

70,000 euros

“Spot is a concentrate of technology that makes it capable of exploring very complicated places, such as those found here. a drone, which allows you to record your environment in 3D, “he said.

This scanner allows you to get three-dimensional, real-time site plans. For example, it was used to explore a two-kilometer old tunnel and vicious air, and the risk of ignition is very dangerous for human exploration.

“I am very confident that Pompeii will acquire it, it is a leap into the future for a millennial site,” said Valerio Brunelli.

Because at this point, even though he has already become the mascot of tourists, Spot has only landed a CDD. “In the technology sector, there are changes so fast that sometimes buying is not so profitable. We still have to make a decision,” said the Pompeii director.

“Spot naked is not going to replace people, that’s not the goal. This kind of tool just wants to make it easier for the men and women who work here,” he adds.

Spot technology was developed by the American company Boston Dynamics, which specializes in robotics, especially the military. The price of Spot is about 70,000 euros, a watchdog that is not available to everyone.

Victoria Beurnez with AFP

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