Boston Dynamics, one of the world’s foremost robotics companies, has announced that Spot, its robot dog, is now for sale
We’ve seen Spot grow for years now. From its early days as a stripped-back mechanical skeleton, wires bared, slipping on banana skins and laminate flooring, to something freakishly uncanny; moving like a creature one might run from in a post-apocalyptic hell-scape ruled by robots.
Its evolution over the years has been nothing short of incredible. Boston Dynamics has carefully refined the robo-dog from a large, unwieldy monster into a small, fleet-of-foot, truck-pulling machine possessing both power and grace. Now, Boston Dynamics’ humble quadruped is available to buy.
Will it prove effective and viable for businesses?
Spot isn’t a replacement for your four-legged friend: it’s designed to work. It is a tool intended for industrial use. Boston Dynamics will lease their robot, or an army of them, to companies that can demonstrate its use, but it won’t come cheap.
Their sales pitch is simple: “A nimble robot that climbs stairs and traverses rough terrain with unprecedented ease, yet is small enough to use indoors. Built to be a rugged and customizable platform, Spot autonomously accomplishes your industrial sensing and remote operation needs.”
It has a 14kg payload, can move slightly faster than the average human walking speed at 1.6 metres per second (or 3.5 mp/h), and has a run time of 90 minutes. Spot’s removable battery allows for minimal downtime: quickly swapping it out is simple and efficient.
Where will Spot work?
Construction, oil & gas and public safety are touted as three key areas Spot might find itself deployed.
Inspecting the progress on construction sites, using its vision system to inspect facilities remotely, or to get eyes on dangerous situations from afar. It could theoretically be applied to bomb disposal, given its customisable arm and array of affixable grips which Boston Dynamics has cleverly designed.
For a company which has spent decades in research and development, rolling this robot off the manufacturing line and into the hands of businesses will be their biggest test yet. That is until it becomes Atlas’ time to shine.