HAMS HALL, England—A four-legged robot is roaming the plant floor at BMW’s engine factory here. “SpOTTO” is an autonomous “dog” that supports maintenance and ensures production processes run smoothly.

Equipped with visual, thermal and acoustic sensors, the machine is used to collect valuable data for the plant’s digital twin, while also serving as a watchdog overseeing operations. The data is used for quality assurance and production planning applications.

SpOTTO monitors the temperature of manufacturing equipment and immediately recognizes if an installation is running too hot, which is an early sign of potential failure. The robot also identifies leaks in compressed air lines, which helps identify waste and reduce energy consumption.

Future applications may include reading analog operating controls and accessing hard-to-reach areas of the factory.

“Thanks to the digital twin, we have an enormous quantity of precise data and evaluations, as well as a real-time picture of production processes,” says Dirk Dreher, plant manager. “The project team…has created unique use cases for our four-legged friend and integrated him perfectly into our processes.”

SpOTTO is named in honor of Gustav Otto, one of the founders of BMW and son of Nicolaus Otto, inventor of the four-stroke internal combustion engine.