The bright-yellow creature is a flat, four-legged, Dear born, Michigan car manufacturer that crawls around its facilities to capture 3D laser images, which engineers use to restructure and re-design their factories.
Mark Goderis, digital engineering manager in Ford's Advanced Manufacturing Center, explained that using robotic dogs is less clunky than traditional, could save time and money and may help bring new products onto the market earlier.
But Fluffy's trainer, Wiebelhaus, has now become part of the family. He keeps him at home to maintain his skills in controlling a pandemic 70-pound quadrupled robot.
"I'm amazed to have felt as close as I do," she said. "I think. "I'm never going to be the handler. The dog will be trained by other people. That will be hard for me, I believe. This is like your favourite car or someone who borrows your favourite costume.
Fluffy is one of two robot dogs, and Ford rents Boston Dynamics, a design and engineering company in Massachusetts. The machines sold under the name Spot provide enterprises with a way of exploring environments that are hazardous or difficult to reach. More than 150 were used for documenting construction progress, floors of travel factories, nuclear decommissioning monitoring sites - even in theme parks. Michael Perry, Boston Dynamics' vice president of business development, said the company experiences high demand from the car industry.
"Spot is designed to increase human labour and to perform major, but sluggish, dirty and dangerous tasks," he said. "In such cases, the use of spot reduces risks to people's security and improves the efficiency of global tasks so that people can concentrate on specialised work."
In order to produce an installation virtual mapping with 360 ° Laser Cameras on the back, Ford will deploy Fluffy in its Van Dyke Transmission facility in Sterling Heights, Michigan, the coming month.
The creation of renderings is usually done every two to three years by Ford. In plants, equipment is often adjusted or moved over that time, and hundreds of engineers are given an updated view remotely from virtual images. They can also move around pieces by deciding to reconfigure to build updates or new products through the computer-aided design programme.
In the past, it was difficult to obtain these renderings. A person must tread a tripod and wait five minutes for scans before he / she moves to the next location. Particularly in tight places could be difficult.
For Fluffy not so. Not so. Its compact size - larger than a Spaniel Cocker, smaller than a German shepherd - and its ability to stretch and crouch make it a perfect way of searching those difficult spaces. It can even climb stairs, go through rough terrain. With a battery that lasts two hours, it can walk up to 3 mph.
They can also sit in their robot haunches and take a trip up and down the alley on Scout - a small, autonomous mobile robot programmed by a Ford engineering and research team. This retains Fluffy's tighter space energy, when Scouter scans the larger image. They are Wi-Fi accessible.
Howbelhaus takes Fluffy outside to her house, to avoid spotting the cats, to Cleopatra and Casino Royale and to scrap on the wood floors of her house! Trees and a hill provide a pleasant obstacle path. She even put a GoPro camera on her property to check the beehive.
In February Wiebelhaus traveled to Boston to learn how the contraction is to be used. She admitted it was a bit overwhelming as anyone who had never even held a video game controller or had a dog. Boston Dynamics assured her that she'd hurt Spot there was nothing she could do.
"It's not a toy for Fluffy. Fluffy's an instrument,' said Wiebelhaus. He is high-tech, he 's cool. But we will be willing to deploy him if he's doing well at the end of the day.