Many times, we have referred to the progress (often impressive) made by the robots of Boston Dynamics, whether of the biped acrobat Atlas or the canid robotics Spot. For the first time in 28 years of existence, this company will market its product to the general public. This is Spot, his robot whose development is most advanced, which, no surprise, benefits from this premier. Attention, the general public doesn’t want to say accessible, this robot being sold at a price of 74 500 $.
As reminded by our colleagues ofArs Technicain the output box, the robot is nothing more than a “mobile camera that can climb stairs, crawl in the mud and overall understanding of almost any field, much more efficiently than any other robot quadruped”. This overlaps a little the description that in fact Boston Dynamics, which speaks of a “robot balanced, stable, able to navigate through unknown environments, even hostile, without any difficulty”.
It is thus left to the customers to develop a purpose specific around the platform Spot is fully programmable. In this context, and due to its price, there is no doubt that these are professionals, the first to equip such a machine.
“Spot is not a toy”
This commercial version of Spot weighs 32 kg, integrates cameras 360° to help navigate (there is no lidar) and is equipped with a battery with a capacity of 605 Wh offering him a battery life of about 90 minutes (two copies are provided in the box). The “dog” is waterproof and can go outside even in the rain, its “coat” has been certified IP54. It can carry a maximum load of 14 kg, climb (or descend) a slope of 30°, but moves slowly with a top speed of only 5,76 km/h.
Spot comes with a remote that looks similar to a game controller incorporating a large 7-inch screen, Android. Of course, the software of assistance to the steering is there to prevent accidents, and it is a priori impossible to see the Spot hit a wall. Once programmed (in Python), the robot can also make use of a certain degree of autonomy to perform tasks alone, under the systematic monitoring of a human, provides Boston Dynamics.
The company also invites them to not use it inside and repeat it several times in his manual, that Spot is not a toy. It calls for vigilance regarding the handling of the robot, referring to risk if the joints are manipulated when the robot works (it is a question of “fingers broken or amputated”).
To note, the prices of the accessories sold by Boston Dynamics for the Spot are also very high : it is around 22 000 $ for the Spot Cam to 360° (30 000 $ for the version + with 30X optical zoom and microphones), or 18 500 $ for the Spot Core, a calculation module that can be grafted directly on the robot. But the best accessory will no doubt be in the robotic arm Spot Arm, in which the price is unknown but expected to be released in early 2021.
If by pure chance you are planning to buy yourself a Spot, please note that a deposit of $ 1,000 is asked to order and a delivery time of 6 to 8 weeks is indicated. A delivery offered by Boston Dynamics, but only for a limited period of time.