Some have absolutely adored the dog-like robots that Boston Dynamics came up with, while others were completely terrified at the prospect of having them among us but one thing is clear: no one was indifferent to them.
Boston Dynamics announced back in 2018 that its SpotMini robot, subsequently known simply as Spot, will actually be up for sale as a commercial product, marking it as its very first major robot to be released to the public.
Spot can run for 90 minutes off a single swappable battery and can carry loads of up to 14kg (30lb). It can survive dusty and wet environments as well as temperatures from -20° C to 45° C (-4° F to 113° F).
Spot does not have full autonomy – it still requires a human operator to guide it through different steps and, overall it was not designed to interact with humans or be just a hobby robot people can take up to play around with. That is one of the reasons why Boston Dynamics targets companies willing to grab Spot via a lease-based contract, as opposed to an actual purchase.
The robot comes with different price tags, all depending on what the robot is supposed to do or if any additional features need to be added and, while we don’t know the exact sums, we can safely assume they’re in the thousands.
Boston Dynamics did introduce Spot to police departments but only as part of a bomb disposal unit or as a machine that can deal with hazardous materials, much in the same style existing police robots currently operate. The company however said, there is no interest on their part to market it to the military in the shape of a weapon of any kind, in spite of the fact that Boston Dynamics itself has military origins.
“Fundamentally, we don’t want to see Spot doing anything that harms people, even in a simulated way,” Michael Perry, VP of business development at Boston Dynamics has said. “That’s something we’re pretty firm on when we talk to customers.”