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A company built a team of robot ‘sled dogs.’ But can they handle the Iditarod Trail?

  • Author: Madeline McGee
  • Updated: April 17, 2019
  • Published April 17, 2019

Mushing may be a thousand-year-old sport, but a Massachusetts-based robotics company may have hit on its future — robot sled dogs.

A video posted Tuesday to YouTube by Boston Dynamics, a spinoff of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, showcases a team of 10 Spotpower robots hauling a box truck across the company’s parking lot.

The four-legged electric robots are designed to navigate rough terrain, using on-board sensors to detect their surroundings and maintain their balance, according to the company’s website.

The truck was in neutral gear, and the parking lot had roughly a 1-inch uphill incline, the company wrote in the video description — so the question of whether the futuristic canines could take on the mountains and tundra of the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail remains to be seen.

At their speed, though, it would take a while to reach Nome.