How Many Robot Dogs Do You Need To Haul A Truck?
Written by Lucy Black   
Saturday, 20 April 2019

According to Boston Dynamics the answer is ten of its Spot robots which are on track to go on sale in July..

Spot is the new name for SpotMini, the robot which when we met it in 2016 was billed as A Domestic Pet Helper and at that time was described as "a smaller version of [Boston Dynamic's] Spot quadruped robot.

spot2019

By the time we last reported on it, see May 2018's SpotMini On Sale Soon, there was less emphasis on its domestic role and the news from Marc Raibert, speaking at TechCrunch's 2018 Robotics Event, was that it would go on sale in 2019. 

Making a repeat appearance at TC Sessions 2019, Raibert confirmed that the quadruped robots were well into the Beta testing phase and the company is still on track for a July release. It plans to manufacture around 100 in the initial run, but is still not ready to talk about pricing. 

There are around 40 Beta Spots being put through their paces and 10 of them participated in this video clip. Its blurb on You Tube reads:

It only takes 10 Spotpower (SP) to haul a truck across the Boston Dynamics parking lot (~1 degree uphill, truck in neutral). These Spot robots are coming off the production line now and will be available for a range of applications soon. 

As it moves closer to production, new features for Spot include redesigned components to make it more reliable, skins that work better to protect the robot if it falls and two sets of cameras on the front and one on each side and the back, so it can see in all directions. It also has an arm, with a hand that’s often mistaken for its head, that is stabilized in space, so it stays in the same place even when the rest of the robot moves, making it more flexible for different applications. Spot is now positioned as a general purpose autonomous robot and has an API so that customers can add their own software for specific tasks.

Acting as an inspector in the construction industry is a role that Spot could take on. TC Sessions includes video of one that has been programmed to autonomously patrol a construction site in Tokyo, outfitted with a Street View-style 360 camera, so it can monitor building progress. As Raibert explains:

“This lets the construction company get an assessment of progress at their site. You might think that that’s a low end task. But these companies have thousands of sites. And they have to patrol them at least a couple of times a week to know where they are in progress. And they’re anticipating using Spot for that. So we have over a dozen construction companies lined up to do tests at various stages of testing and proof of concept in their scenarios.”

Manoeuvrability is an important characteristic for a robot that is expected to be able to make its way through construction sites and its agility is demonstrated in this video where it shows off its ability to dance: 

So if you have a scenario where a four-footed robot equipped with 360 vision would come in handy you'll be able to start working on the software in just a few months'

More Information

Spot

Boston Dynamics showcases new uses for SpotMini ahead of commercial production

Boston Dynamics debuts the production version of SpotMini

 

Related Articles

Spot Mini On Sale Soon

Introducing SpotMini - A Domestic Pet Helper

OpenDog - Build Your Own Spot

 


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Last Updated ( Saturday, 20 April 2019 )