In June 2020, Boston Dynamics began selling Spot, the first commercial robot.
It was a big moment for the company. Boston Dynamics has focused on research and development for most of its 30-year history. In the beginning, Boston Dynamics received a lot of money from the US military and DARPA. It was later funded by well-known owners including Google, SoftBank and more recently Hyundai. All these companies are trying to get robot makers into commercialization, and Boston Dynamics is finally there.
“We look forward to becoming a constant manufacturer of new, sophisticated robots. For example, every three to five years, we plan to build new robots targeting new industries.” says Robert. Boston Dynamics CEO and Platter.
But for now, Boston Dynamics is focusing on the inspection and warehousing industry with the robot Spot and Stretch.
“The next big industry in Opportunity is actually called industrial sensing or mobility sensing in this market. Here robots move around and use robots in places like manufacturing plants, chemical plants, utilities, equipment. Spot Products Chief Engineer Jack “We collect data on what’s happening in these facilities in an automated way,” Jakowski said. Once you start doing this, you can start to understand these features and their potential in new ways.”
Boston Dynamics Spot robots observe at the National Grid substation in Massachusetts.
As of now, Spot has been reminding people to test at construction sites, oil rigs, nuclear power plants, check vital signs of Covid-19 patients in hospitals and even maintain social distancing in a pandemic . Boston Dynamics says it has sold hundreds of Spot robots to date, with entry-level robots costing around $75,000.
The company’s other commercial robot, Stretch, is focused on the warehousing market.
“We think the Stretch is eventually going to be a general-purpose box mover that can be used anywhere in the warehouse,” Platter says. “Each year 800 million containers are shipped around the world. Many are full of boxes. In the United States, trillions of boxes are manually unloaded each year. This is a challenging task. This is a mountain. A material that must be transferred. Stretching is a really powerful tool to help people move that material. “
The stretch is made up of many different parts. The robot uses the mobile base to get through tight spaces and climb load ramps. Arms, grippers, sight cameras and sensors allow the robot to identify and process a variety of objects. Initially, robots are used to load and unload trucks.
Boston Dynamics says it expects the Vibe to be available next year, but it doesn’t offer a price. Customers can also simply purchase stretch-enhancing computer vision software, which Boston Dynamics calls a pick. The company says it is working with some early adopters to test the robot, but has not disclosed who those partners are.
Watch the video to learn more about Boston Dynamics’ history and its plans to move from R&D to commercialization.