If you’ve been keeping tabs on Boston Dynamics, then you’ve seen Spot, the company’s robotic dog, do some pretty neat things—from dancing to Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk to a pack of the robots pulling a delivery truck across a parking lot. Boston Dynamics’ robotic dog Spot just went on sale, sort of.
Boston Dynamics is making Spot available through a leasing program for qualifying companies. Companies can apply to Boston Dynamics to have Spot join their team, and if your company is selected, you can then lease one or more of the robots for your project. “Our general guidance is that the total cost of the early adopter program lease will be less than the price of a car—but how nice a car will depend on the number of Spots leased and how long the customer will be leasing the robot,” explains Natalie Alper, a marketing specialist for Boston Dynamics.
Spot’s ability to go where it is told to go while avoiding obstacles and keeping its balance makes it possible for a number of different tasks, such as checking for gas leaks or inspecting construction sites. Additionally, Spot can be equipped with four different hardware modules on its back. One of those components is a LIDAR rig from Velodyne that spot can carry to create 3D maps of indoor spaces. Boston Dynamics is also working with Cirque du Soleil to come up with a way to integrate Spot into the company’s performance.
Companies that do get to work with Spot are warned to give the robot a wide berth. Spot wasn’t designed to interact with humans, so observing good safety is definitely recommended. Boston Dynamics is also opposed to any project that could potentially weaponized the robot. “Fundamentally, we don’t want to see Spot doing anything that harms people, even in a simulated way,” states Michael Perry, VP of business development for Boston Dynamics. “That’s something we’re pretty firm on when we talk to customers.” That doesn’t preclude Spot being used by the police and other agencies, however, as Spot could viably be used in bomb and hazardous material disposal.
The leasing program is the first step in getting Spot out of the lab and into the wild. More uses will no doubt be dreamed up as companies explore Spot’s potential.