The headless dog can detect how many people are around.

By Andrea Romano
May 14, 2020
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This is not the kind of dog you’ll want to pet.

According to Lonely Planet, a headless, four-legged robot dog has been roaming around Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in Singapore as part of an effort to encourage social distancing in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The bright yellow robot was developed by Boston Dynamics and was spotted wandering the park, occasionally making announcements to remind people to keep their distance from each other, Lonely Planet reported. A video from The Straits Times shows the robot eerily walking the footpaths in the park.

The robot dog is being used on a trial basis by the National Parks Board and the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group in Singapore to see if it makes a measurable difference in helping to control the spread of the disease, Lonely Planet reported. The trial period began on May 8 and will continue for two weeks in the park, according to The Straits Times.

The robot will be seen roaming the River Plains area of the park during off-peak hours, along with an officer to supervise, The Straits Times reported.

Even though the robot dog isn’t quite as cuddly as its real canine counterpart, the robot has been aptly named Spot and is able to roam into areas where wheels are largely ineffective, presumably rough paths or grass, according to Lonely Planet. The robot is also equipped with 360-degree vision and can avoid obstacles all while being driven remotely or automated to stick to certain paths. According to Lonely Planet, it can even sense how many people are around so it can make a pre-recorded announcement about observing safe distances.

While the sight of the robot dog is certainly bizarre, or even a little dystopian, it certainly seems to be doing a better job at making people keep their distance than a cute, fluffy dog would. As seen in the video, lots of people give the robot a wide birth as it walks past them.