Published on 23 March 2023
Passengers on the Tyne and Wear Metro got a surprise this week when they came face-to-face with Bernard the Robot Dog – but they didn’t need to worry, his bark is worse than his megabyte.
Bernard joined the University of Sunderland in 2021 to promote technology and the University’s Faculty of Technology at open days and outreach and recruitment events. He showcases what technology can do and how it can be used in an applied way to solve tasks.
As one of the most, if not THE most, advanced quadrupedal robots in development, Bernard is one very busy pup – and on Tuesday (March 21) he travelled into Newcastle to deliver one of his popular research talks. Bernard opted for a greener form of transport for his journey and used the Tyne and Wear Metro for the very first time.
The computerised canine boarded the train at University station in Sunderland, near the University’s City Campus, alongside his proud owner Professor John Murray, Academic Dean of the Faculty of Technology.
Professor Murray, I bet Bernard got a few stares! What did passengers make of him?
“I think the passengers were surprised to see a robot dog on the Metro and many were keen to have their photo taken with him. During the journey there were many questions about what he’s for and what he can do.”
This is the first time Bernard has seen a Tyne and Wear Metro train. What did he think of his yellow and black counterpart?
“Bernard certainly agrees with their colour scheme! Normally we take him to events in the car, so it was good to get him out and about to see how we can take him around the city and meet new people.”
How did Bernard rate his Tyne and Wear Metro journey?
“Bernard gives his Tyne and Wear Metro experience a 10/10. The staff were all very excited to meet him and get to know more about him. He certainly caused a buzz and enjoyed the attention.”
Customer Services Director at Nexus, Huw Lewis, said: “It was fantastic to welcome Bernard the Robot Dog onto the Tyne and Wear Metro. What an amazing piece of technology that the University has there to showcase what can be achieved with modern day robotics.
“Bernard certainly turned a few heads when our customers spotted him heading down into the station and then along the platform to wait for a train. They couldn’t wait to take a few selfies, and they were really in awe of what they were seeing. There was a mixture of delight and surprise. He is welcome on Metro any time because he made a lot of people’s day, whether young or old.”
Huw added: “The visit showed just how far robot technology has advanced. Bernard even made our trains show their age, and his yellow colour scheme was a nice nod to the modern new fleet of Stadler trains we are bringing into service later this year.”