The dawn of robotics has arrived.
Many are familiar with HBO’s mind-bending sci-fi Westworld and its storyline of main character Dolores Abernathy—the show’s oldest active and highly intelligent android who starts a robot revolution against humankind with a little help from her robotic friends. Based on the 1973 Michael Crichton movie of the same name, the series takes place in the near future with great technological advances in robotics and artificial intelligence. The third season premiere debuted on March 15 and surpassed nine million viewers across all of HBO’s platforms.
However, the Dolores that I am referring to is not one and the same. This one is not built by Arnold Weber in the Argos Initiative but is the creation of Ghost Robotics (GR), a robotics company based in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia, and a strategic partner of Rajant. The bot’s formal name is the Ghost Vision 60 from the Ghost Vision™ and Wraith™ Series, but affectionately nicknamed Dolores after Westworld’s android by the GR development team who test and tinker with the model on a daily basis. And it’s just as sci-fi and fascinating as a Westworld android—if not more since this robot is actually real and not a CGI (computer-generated imagery) on an imaginary film set or in a futuristic park.
The 65-pound GR Dolores is a mid-sized foldable teleoperated and autonomous all-terrain, quadrupedal unmanned ground vehicle (Q-UGV) outfitted with a software development kit (SDK). Fully operated manually or autonomously and field-deployable, her features are numerous. Similar to the Westworld Dolores, the GR Dolores is a fast, ultra-agile, traversable, and rugged android with a high-endurance—capable of exploring unstructured terrain without distraction or losing her balance on slippery and uneven ground with four ambidextrous jointed legs. “She” is designed for industrial inspection and perimeter security in locations unsuitable for humans. She can explore unstructured terrain without losing balance and can tackle areas where ground robots have a tough time, such as climbing stairs, opening doors, and mapping caves.
And like the Westworld Dolores, who has gone through several transformations thus far during the popular HBO hit series, the Vision 60 has also had numerous upgrades as GR continues to develop the next-gen of ground bots.
Pictured above is the Vision 60 v4x with an added arm from HDT Global. This latest bot can also be seen here moving about on video in a blind operation mode. This athletic machine, constructed of aluminum and carbon fiber, can cover 7.8 miles on one single charge while carrying up to 25 pounds. The GR Dolores effortlessly tackles mission-critical tasks in hazardous environments that are either too dull, too dirty, or too dangerous for humans working in the military, mining, natural resources, and many other industries. This robot can also navigate tunnels, run in complete darkness, and stay balanced even on the rockiest terrains.
The GR Dolores is also easily programmable with third-party autonomy applications. When utilizing the Rajant Kinetic Mesh® wireless mesh network technology, the Ghost Vision 60 houses one of Rajant’s BreadCrumb® radios to operate a mesh network to ensure continuous connectivity allowing it to run underground and navigate the toughest terrains without losing maneuverability and connectivity. With Rajant’s InstaMesh® technology, multiple peer connections per node make it much harder to have a single node become a point of failure. This is vital when operating robotic devices, since it is essential to have controllability and connectivity at all times, especially underground.
While HBO has greenlit Westworld with its robots for a fourth season in 2022, so has Ghost Robotics greenlighted forthcoming updated models of the Ghost Vision bot. And just like the TV sci-fi drama, I can’t wait to see what happens next with the GR robotics and where their forward-thinking, vision, and engineering takes us next