The well-known robotic company Boston Dynamics has long been a "trendsetter" in some unusual things. Its specialists, demonstrating the ability to maintain the balance of their robots, were the first to kick their creations with their feet. And, literally in a very short time, almost all other manufacturers of two- and four-legged robots have adopted this barbaric technique. Not so long ago, the company Boston Dynamics demonstrated how the team of a dozen robots SpotMini pulls away and pulls a truck. As the saying goes, “a bad example is infectious,” and representatives of the Dynamic Systems Laboratory of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia) forced their HyQReal robot to hitch and drag a whole passenger plane.
When we previously talked about the HyQ robot, he could only stand firmly on his feet and began to master the basics of moving across difficult rugged terrain. But a lot of time has passed since then, the robot design has been modernized several times and now, the HyQReal robot, which is slightly larger than the average dog, has been able to develop large enough efforts with the help of its hydraulic drives.
The current version of the HyQReal robot has a length of 133 centimeters and a height of 90 centimeters, and its weight is 130 kilograms. Quite a significant part of this mass falls on the mass of the 48-volt battery, which energizes four electric motors, which actuate the hydraulic system. A pair of on-board computers controls all the machinery and power electronics, and all of this is covered by a protective aluminum frame, on which the “skin” of Kevlar and plastic is stretched.
The plane into which the HyQReal robot was harnessed is the small passenger aircraft Piaggio P180 Avanti, which is far from being up to 747th, but even up to 737th Boeing. The length of this aircraft is 14.4 meters with a wingspan of 14 meters. And the weight of this aircraft is 3.3 tons. Nevertheless, the HyQReal robot had to push its rubber legs hard enough to get the plane moving and dragging it for the first half-meter.
All this, at first glance, seems meaningless fun. However, the HyQReal robot is being developed to assist people affected by natural disasters and man-made disasters. And, in such scenarios, using his skills and strength, the robot will be able to pull a wounded person out of the debris or move aside a fragment of the building construction of a destroyed building that prevents him, for example.