Robot dogs will soon be patrolling sewers, doing the jobs humans hate, it is claimed.
The mechanical canines are set to be given free rein of the network underneath Zurich in Switzerland – and other cities could soon follow suit.
Strolling around on four legs, the devices, named ANYmal, will soon be able to save city workers from crawling through raw sewage, manufacturers say.
This work is both unhealthy and dangerous, and it is hoped the robots will be able to operate in complete darkness.
Zurich has more than 500 miles of sewers below the streets, and the tunnels constantly need to be inspected for faults.
The robots have been created by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and robotics firm ANYbotics, ETH Zurich reports.
The electronic dogs can move around on their own, but during initial tests were controlled using a joystick.
ANYmal rep Peter Fankhauser told ETH during testing: "It’s a precautionary measure.
"Just because something works in the lab doesn’t always mean it will work in the real world."
The devices, the result of a three-year design project, will be able to call on humans to help when a problem is detected.
Using their ability to see, hear and feel, the robots are able to detect objects and measure pressure.
According to researchers, one of the devices collected around 500,000 measurements per second when it was let loose in Zurich’s sewers.
They can also open doors, ANYbotics revealed. The company motto is: "Let Robots Go Anywhere."
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