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Burro Robot Follows You And Gets Smarter

The Burro is effectively a follower robot; in the fields, it is an autonomous driving pallet that can move easily through orchards and fields.

To train a Burro robot, you simply press a Follow button and start walking; at the end of the path, you press the button again. Using up to 20 cameras, computer vision, and GPS, Burro follows you and memorizes the route. It can then ferry goods unassisted and communicate the path to other Burro robots.

A Burro weighs up to 500 pounds and can carry as much as 1,000 pounds. Table grape growers are using Burros to ferry fruit from laborers in vineyards to people packing the goods in clamshells before loading them onto trucks for transport to grocery stores.

Roughly 100 Burro devices are currently operating in southern California vineyards after three years of trials.

(Via Wired)

As far as I know, the earliest follower robots were imagined by Philip K. Dick. In his 1963 novel The Game Players of Titan, Dick describes the homotropic news vending machines that annoyingly found and followed people until they bought a paper.

In 1964, he described the creditor jet-balloon which would follow an individual person.

Over Rachmael ben Applebaum's head floated a creditor jet-balloon, and from within its articulation-circuit a flat but handsome, masculine-artificial, however-voice boomed, magnified so that not only Rachmael but everyone else crowding the ped-runnels heard it. The amplification was designed this way; you were singled out and simultaneously exposed; public ridicule, the jeers of the always-present crowds, was brought into play as a force working at you . . . and, Rachmael reflected, for the creditor, free.

Fans of John Brunner's 1975 classic The Shockwave Rider recall the autoporter. You might also enjoy this earlier story REX Infantry Robotic Porter Follows Soldiers.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/7/2021)

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