A robotic dog stole the show last week at the 2021 Offshore Technology Conference, with many attendees getting their first in-the-wild experience with a robot as it strolled the exhibit hall aisles and hallways of Houston's NRG Center.
Technically, the robotic dog is a Q-UGV, or quadrupedal unmanned ground vehicle, developed by Philadelphia-based Ghost Robotics.
The Q-UGV is designed for tasks such as inspections, surveillance, mapping and security.
For OTC, it — and its handler following behind with a remote control — patrolled the aisles, booths and hallways, working as a walking signage board directing people to follow it back to the Ares Security booth.
Over its four days at OTC, its attempt at coffee with an exhibitor resulted in wet trousers for the salesman that offered it, as the grip of the Q-UGV’s robotic claw is stronger than Styrofoam. The robotic dog danced and wiggled for its admirers. It tangled and twirled a Slinky toy and made friends with a local pack of bomb-sniffing canines.
The robotic dog “not made in Boston”, a nod to Boston Dynamics robot dog "Spot", also served as a gentle reminder that pushing the boundaries of technology is why many were at OTC in the first place. It gave us all a reason to smile, to laugh, and to forget about Covid-19 for a few minutes.