Boston Dynamics' Spot robot dog now commercially available
Spot, an agile robot dog that climbs stairs and traverses rough terrain with ease, is now for sale. This is the first time that businesses can purchase a Boston Dynamics robot. The robot dog has been tested in a range of applications, including on a Canadian construction site and for coronavirus social distancing enforcement.
Spot is designed to go where other robots can't go and to perform a broad number of tasks. The robot can be reconfigured for various use cases to increase efficiency and greatly reduce safety risks in the workplace.
Spot was previously only available for short-term lease under Boston Dynamics' Early Adopter Program. Under that program, over 150 Spot robots were successfully used by domestic and international businesses and research facilities. Early Adopters used Spot robots to document construction progress, monitor remote or hazardous environments, and provide situational awareness. Spot robots were used in a variety of environments, including power generation facilities, decommissioned nuclear sites, factory floors, construction sites, and research laboratories. Spot was also used to explore projects for creative industries, such as dancing on stage and performing in theme parks.
Spot's modular platform is intended to be easily-configurable, with a number of accessories and add-ons available to customize its use. Participants in the Early Adopter Program tailored these capabilities to apply automation to dynamic environments and increase efficiency. According to Boston Dyanmics, program results included:
Saving approximately 20 hours of work per week by automating the capture of nearly 5,000 images weekly on Quebec-based construction firm Pomerleau's 500,000-square-foot building project.
Increasing data-collection efficiency and safety in Hensel Phelps' construction of Denver International Airport's main terminal, and automating the capture of laser scans and 360-degree images to reduce the risk of return visits and project delays.
Leveraging computer-vision-based anomaly detection software to reduce human risk in potentially dangerous tasks for AkerBP's energy production facilities.
Autonomously navigating tough, underground terrain with NASA Jet Propulsion Lab Team CoSTAR's integrated autonomy, perception and communication tools, an application which ultimately won the most recent DARPA Subterranean Challenge Competition, the Urban Circuit.
Each of these early adopters customized how they deployed Spot by leveraging the robot's mounting rails, payload ports and software development kit to expand the capabilities of the base robot platform. Many had never worked with a mobile robot prior to working with Spot, but were able to use common web app programming to enable their applications.
"At Boston Dynamics, we have spent decades creating and refining robots with advanced mobility, dexterity and intelligence because we believe agile robots can solve a broad range of real world problems," said Marc Raibert, chairman and founder of Boston Dynamics. "The combination of Spot's sophisticated software and high performance mechanical design enables the robot to augment difficult or dangerous human work. Now you can use Spot to increase human safety in environments and tasks where traditional automation hasn't been successful."
Spot is intended for commercial and industrial use and is currently only available for purchase in the United States. Boston Dynamics will continue to lease Spot robots to customers in select international markets through its Early Adopter Program.