The Chinese robot combines wheels and legs to conquer any terrain

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you combined a dog and a car? You might end up with something like the W1, a wheeled four-legged robot that can switch between walking and rolling modes depending on the terrain.

W1 is the first product LimX Dynamics, a Chinese company specializing in legged robot technology. It's part of a growing trend and demand for legged robots, especially in China, where the government and industry are investing heavily in robotics and artificial intelligence.

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W1 Quadruped Robot (LimX Dynamics) (Kurt “Cyberguy” Knutson)

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What can this robot actually do?

W1 is a four-legged robot with motorized wheels on the ends of its legs. It can use these wheels to move quickly and easily on smooth surfaces such as roads, sidewalks or floors.

He can also use his legs to jump over obstacles, climb stairs, or move over uneven terrain. When it moves on dirt roads on bumpy surfaces, its legs can be bent to make the ride easier. Also, by bending its legs, it can change the angle and height of its body, which allows it to maintain its balance, avoid overhead obstacles and fit into confined spaces.

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W1 Quadruped Robot (LimX Dynamics) (Kurt “Cyberguy” Knutson)

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What allows the bot to switch between different modes?

The W1 has smart sensors and software that help it see and navigate. It also has powerful motors and wheels that allow it to change its movement depending on where it is. It can move on its own or follow human commands.

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W1 Quadruped Robot with Climbing Stars (LimX Dynamics) (Kurt “Cyberguy” Knutson)

The versatility and adaptability of its design

The W1 is designed for a variety of applications such as industrial inspection, logistics and distribution, research and education. Thanks to its wheeled legs and motion intelligence technology, it can perform a wide range of tasks and functions.

It can be customized and upgraded with different sensors, tools and accessories depending on the application and scenario. But don't think that W1 is just a solo worker. He can team up with other robots or humans as well.

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W1 Quadruped Robots (LimX Dynamics) (Kurt “Cyberguy” Knutson)

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What are the challenges for this robot?

The W1 can reach a top speed of 15.5 km/h on its wheels, but can lose balance or topple over if it encounters sudden bumps or turns. It also needs to slow down when switching between motion modes, which can affect its performance and efficiency.

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W1 quadrupedal mobile robot (LimX Dynamics) (Kurt “Cyberguy” Knutson)

How does it compare to other four-legged robots?

W1 is not the first four-legged robot with wheels on its legs. In 2021, we saw the Swiss-Mile Robot, a similar concept developed by researchers at ETH Zurich and the University of Bologna. However, the W1 claims to have some advantages over its predecessor, such as higher speed, longer battery life and lower cost.

The W1 also faces competition from other four-legged robots that don't have wheels, e.g. Boston Dynamics' Spot, Unitree's A1 and Ghost Robotics' Vision. These robots are also capable of all-terrain mobility and general-purpose tasks, but they rely solely on leg movement. The W1's wheeled legs give it an advantage in terms of speed and efficiency on flat surfaces, while maintaining the agility and versatility of a legged robot.

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Kurt's key

The W1 is an excellent robot that demonstrates the power and capabilities of legged robot technology. It is a hybrid of a dog and a car, a walker and a roller, a car and a creature. Incredibly, it can adapt to any terrain or situation and perform almost any task and function. Pre-orders will begin later this year, along with performance, specifications and pricing.

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