Boston Dynamics, the company that has chronicled its development of robots characterized by viewers as both entertaining and terrifying, has launched its 4-legged canine-like Spot robot.
Writes Boston Dynamics: “Spot is an agile mobile robot that you can customize for a wide range of applications. The base platform provides rough-terrain mobility, 360 degree obstacle avoidance, and various levels of navigation, remote control and autonomy. You can customize Spot by adding specialized sensors, software and other payloads. Early customers are already testing Spot to monitor construction sites, provide remote inspection at gas, oil and power installations, and in public safety. Spot is in mass production and currently shipping to select early adopters.”
Wired reports: “BD is leasing rather than selling Spot, and the company is being choosy about who gets to deploy the machine. It’s talking with energy companies, for instance, who might want Spot to inspect infrastructure, as well as with Cirque du Soleil, which is exploring Spot’s potential as an entertainer.”
As for cost, Michael Perry, vice president of business development, tells Wired: “It’s about the price of a car. How nice of a car depends on how many robots and how long the lease period is.”
The Verge reports: ‘The company was also quick to say that it’s not interested in using the Spot as a weapon, despite the company’s military origins. “Fundamentally, we don’t want to see Spot doing anything that harms people, even in a simulated way,” says Michael Perry, VP of business development at Boston Dynamics. “That’s something we’re pretty firm on when we talk to customers.” (Boston Dynamics is still marketing to police departments, but it says the Spot would be limited to disposing of bombs and other hazardous materials, along the lines of existing police robots.)’