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Bernard the Robot Dog makes Tyne and Wear Metro debut

Bernard with his owner, Professor John Murray

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 (pun UoS’ own).

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 a 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.

Murray said: “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. 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, which operates the Metro service, Huw Lewis, added: “It was fantastic to welcome Bernard the Robot Dog onto the Tyne and Wear Metro. What an amazing piece of technology the university has to showcase what can be achieved with modern day robotics. 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.”

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