Tomb raiders beware: A robot dog may soon be protecting Pompeii

by | Apr 6, 2022 - 3:49PM | Tech

The four-legged droid at Pompeii.

In the ruins of Pompeii, a robotic dog could soon be stalking the once-thriving streets of the ancient city in an effort to protect the Italian archeological site which was wiped out by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

Spot, a quadruped robot from Boston Dynamics, is able to get into the smallest spaces that humans cannot – and can safely perform routine inspections.

The four-legged droid can move “on different types of terrain with agility and autonomy, allowing the automation of routine inspection activities and the collection of data in a safe manner”.

It is one of the latest technological solutions being tested by the park to help preserve the site.

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Another piece of tech being used is the Leica BLK2FLY, which is “the first flying laser scanner capable of autonomously conducting 3D scans”.

The threat of tomb raiders

Tomb raiders, who use a network of tunnels for raids, have been an issue that has plagued Pompeii for decades, according to The Guardian.

And these robot dogs could be the solution to keeping the vast historical site safe.

“Thanks to collaboration with high-tech companies and in the wake of these successful experiments, we wish to test the use of these robots in the underground tunnels that were made by illegal excavators and which we are uncovering in the area around Pompeii as part of a memorandum of understanding with the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Torre Annunziata,” Pompeii’s director general Gabriel Zuchtriegel said.

“Often the safety conditions within the tunnels dug by grave robbers are extremely precarious, as a consequence of which the use of a robot could signify a breakthrough that would allow us to proceed with greater speed and in total safety.

“Technological advances in the world of robotics, in the form of artificial intelligence and so-called autonomous systems, have produced solutions and innovations typically associated with the industrial and manufacturing world, but which until now had not found an application within archaeological sites due to the heterogeneity of environmental conditions, and the size of the site.”

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Pompeii is located in the southwest region of Campania and southeast of the base of Mount Vesuvius.

A catastrophic eruption from the volcano buried the city’s residents under ash and pumice centuries ago, preserving their remains.

The city was uncovered in the 1700s and gave a glimpse into the everyday lives of those who lived in the ancient world.

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