Shambling military-grade mechanical monstrosity maker Boston Dynamics has officially launched its dog-like robot, Spot.
The company's most famous creation was a giant pack-carrying quadruped called BiGDog. It was designed with help from the US Marines and DARPA, and could carry 180kg, but despite dozens of well-shared internet videos, BiGDog never made it to active service and has since been discontinued.
Spot is smaller and sleeker with the same strangely jointed legs. It can climb stairs and scoot over rough ground at a speed of 3 miles per hour (c. 5km/h). If it falls over, it automatically gets up again. Here's the launch video.
Spot's battery lasts 90 minutes and can be swapped for a fully charged one if required. He can carry up to 14kg (one case of wine). Beyond booze-carrying duties, Boston Dynamics expects Spot to be used to inspect industrial facilities and carry out other such public safety duties. Some bots are already in use.
The robo-dog is equipped with stereo cameras to avoid obstacles. Although it would clearly make an excellent domestic robot, Spot can work well in dusty and wet environments and function in temperatures between -20˚C and 45˚C.
It comes with a programmable API and aims to be a platform for other devices still in development like a robot arm, for opening doors, and sensor equipment. There is an application development kit, currently in beta.
Once under Alphabet's roof, the company was offloaded to Japanese investor SoftBank in 2017. ®