The Chinese-based Unitree Robotics company has been producing quadruped bionic robots since 2016, and today it offers a full lineup of robotic dogs, from compact and affordable consumer models to more expensive industrial-grade robots with impressive capabilities and extremely high performance. The Unitree B1, launched in 2021, is the company’s latest product to occupy the niche of large-sized highly-protected industrial robots with heavy load capacity and extensive development opportunities.
This is Top 3D Shop, and today we are going to review the Unitree B1 — the most advanced industrial model in the family of Unitree quadruped bionic robots.
The key feature of the Unitree B1 distinguishing it from most competitors is its weatherability. Protected from dust and water, the robot can be used in harsh environments, bearing potential hazards to people. The B1 is incredibly stable on any terrain type, be it sand, garavel road, or a stone pile, and can cross or avoid various obstacles. Machine vision and autonomous navigation open wide opportunities for the B1 to be employed for numerous industrial applications.
Below are the key features of the Unitree B1 industrial bionic dog.
The B1 is equipped with 12 joints, 3 for each leg, powered by industrial-grade servo motors with a maximum torque of 210 Nm for knee joint motors. The force control technology makes for excellent dynamic characteristics and perfect balancing, allowing the dog to climb up and down the stairs with a maximum step height of 20 cm, and quickly regain stability in case of external impacts or falls. Due to its 12 DOF, the robot is capable of complex movements, such as jumps or backflips, and reaches the speed of 1,2 m/s.
The robot is equipped with five Intel RealSense D430 depth cameras allowing for autonomous navigation and obstacle avoidance using machine vision.
Having passed the IP67 certification for dust and water protection, the B1 is not only capable of operating under any weather conditions, including heavy rain, but can be also submerged into water. The protection class can be upgraded to IP68, allowing the dog to operate under water safely, with the fording depth of up to 1.2 m.
The durable structure of the Unitree B1 ensures a maximum payload of up to 20 kg in the walking mode and up to 80 kg when standing. This allows using the dog for cargo delivery in places hardly accessible to people.
Like all the other Unitree bionic dogs, the B1 should be put on the floor with its legs folded, the knees and feet touching the ground.
After installing the battery and double pressing the power button, the robot will run self-diagnostics and stand up. From the video below you will learn how to turn on the robot and perform basic operating functions.
The battery was specifically designed for the Unitree B1. It has the capacity of 18000 mAh and features an advanced battery management system developed by Unitree. The power level is indicated by the four LEDs. Installed correctly, the battery ensures the IP67 class of protection.
The Unitree B1 features two operation modes, which are Static standing and Walking mode.
In Static standing mode, the user can control the 3-axis posture and position of the robot with a remote controller. To switch to the Walking mode, press the Start button on the joystick. The switch back to Static standing is performed by the Select button.
The Walking mode includes Ordinary walking and Obstacle walking modes. In the Ordinary walking mode the robot can move forward, backward, and sideways as well as rotating in place. The Obstacle mode allows for the same actions and besides, the robot is able to cross obstacles and climb the stairs and slopes, being controlled by the joystick.
The B1 is an open-source system and it provides full high-level and low-level control for the developers, including the control of the angle, rotation speed, and torque of each joint separately. Like other Unitree dogs, the B1 features three control units, which are the perception control board, the motion control board, and the main controller used mainly for firmware upgrades and debugging.
The perception controller is actually three NVIDIA NX boards that communicate with the onboard camera sensors and perform the SLAM function when the B1 is equipped with an optional lidar.
The motion controller is the Intel Core i5 board used for controlling the dog’s movements as well as communicating with the built-in 5G and GNSS modules and the phone app.
An ergonomic Bluetooth controller is used to operate the Unitree B1. Its maximum working distance is ~100 m in an open space. Various button combinations and two joysticks control the robot’s movements. Basically, in the Walking mode, the left joystick controls the dog’s movement in different directions, while the right one is used to make the B1 rotate clockwise or counterclockwise.
If you are operating the B1 equipped with the Z1 robotic arm, the controller can operate the arm as well. To enter this mode, press the L1 + L2 buttons simultaneously.
Another control option for the Unitree B1 is via the mobile app, available both for Android and iOS. The application is the same as used with the Go1, so you need to select the dog model in the Settings menu.
The application allows real-time video streaming from the B1’s five cameras and doing SLAM. It also controls the 5G and GNSS modules for remote robot operation.
The Unitree B1 quadruped robotic dog meets all requirements for an industrial-grade robot and can complete various tasks, such as security patrol, site inspection, search and rescue, cargo delivery, and a lot of others, in environments potentially dangerous for people. IP67 protection, the ability to navigate autonomously, and a whole range of additional equipment combined with powerful programming capabilities make the Unitree B1 an indispensable helper in various fields.
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