July 06, 2021
How Tesla Got Its Dog Mode | Robot Guide Dogs For The Blind | Dog Edition #25

On this episode we meet at the intersection of technology and our love for dogs. Robot guide dogs may soon be added to the list of mobility aids for people who are blind or visually impaired. And, if you want Elon Musk to care about the welfare of your dog, just send him a tweet!

Do dogs help humans or do humans help dogs? Well actually it is both when you are talking tech. Enter robot guide dogs for people with visual impairments and Tesla’s Dog Mode for temperature regulated pups in parked cars.

Robot Guide Dogs for the Blind

A blindfolded researcher gripping a leash, is led by a guide dog through a maze of obstacles. The guide dog pauses, readjusts, then pulls on the leash to guide the person to safety. But this is no ordinary guide dog. This is a robot guide dog and one that may eventually become another mobility aid for people who are blind or visually impaired.

How Tesla got its Dog Mode

It was the simplest of questions, answered by the simplest of answers. Yes. That was the response when Josh Atchley tweeted Elon Musk looking for a way to safely leave his dog in the car, without sparking concerns from well-meaning passers-by. The story behind this exchange is no more relevant than now, as parts of the US swelter through summer and humans and dogs stay safe during heatwaves and record high temperatures.

The Hydrant

Jim, Pam, and Caroline stop by the hydrant to sniff out the latest dog gossip, innuendo, @jokes, and notes.

Christine Benninger

Christine Benninger is President and CEO of Guide Dogs for the Blind. She joined in 2014 and brought a wealth of non-profit and for-profit experience to her role havin previously spent 17 years leading the Humane Society Silicon Valley. Guide Dogs for the Blind is the largest guide dog school in North America with more than 15,000 guide teams graduating from GDB since it was founded in 1942. With exceptional client services and a robust network of trainers, puppy raisers, donors and volunteers, GDB prepares highly qualified guide dogs to serve and empower individuals who are blind or have low vision from throughout the United States and Canada.

FB: @guidedogsfortheblind, IG/TW: @gdb_official, URL: guidedogs.com

Zhongyu Li

Zhongyu Li is PhD Student studying robotics at The University of California, Berkeley. He leads the project team which has modified a quadrupedal robot from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology into a robot guide dog.

TW: @ZhongyuLi4, TW: @UCBerkeley

Here’s What We Found at The Hydrant

“I’m home!” Dogs rings doorbell after missing for hours

Digby the amazing therapy dog helps woman on bridge

The role of specialty dogs at Florida’s building collapse site