Nine months after the limited release of its Spot, Boston Dynamics today made the quadruped robot commercially available. Applicable businesses can buy Spot from Boston Dynamics’ online store for a base price of $74,500.
Customers will typically be limited to a maximum of two robots, for now, but Boston Dynamics said it will discuss larger orders with potential clients. Spot is commercially available only in the US. Boston Dynamics will continue to lease Spot to customers in select international markets through its Early Adopter Program, which to date has leased around 150 units.
Here’s what customers gets with the Spot Explorer dev kit, which is designed for commercial and industrial use, for $74,500:
- Spot robot
- x2 batteries
- A charger
- Tablet controller and charger
- Robot case for storage and transportation
- Power case for battery and charger storage and transportation
- Python client packages for the Spot API’s
- Software updates when available
- Standard warranty
- Free shipping
Spot will be delivered within six to eight weeks after a full payment is received. There are other packages for enterprise and academic use, but you need to contact Boston Dynamics for more information. Each Spot includes a year’s worth of software updates and a one-year warranty.
Accessories for Spot
Spot’s modular platform can integrate a number of accessories and add-ons, which are sold separately. For example, you can enable edge computing with Spot CORE for an additional $3,925. While any device connected to Spot’s network can run custom code through Spot’s SDK, running locally on Spot CORE enables high-bandwidth, low-latency connections.
Another add-on, the Spot Enhanced Autonomy Package+ (EAP+), improves Spot’s autonomy by enabling it to create better maps by using a Velodyne VLP-16 LiDAR and the Spot CAM integrated 360 color camera. The base stereo cameras have a range of four meters for autonomous mapping, while the EAP+ increases Spot’s sensing range and allows it to navigate spaces with features up to 100 meters away.
Understandably, Boston Dynamics is trying to be very careful about who buys this robot. Any time its posts a video of its robots on YouTube, for example, Boston Dynamics is bombarded with ridiculous comments about killer robots taking over the world. So it has a disclaimer attached to each Spot sale that says, “All orders will be subject to Boston Dynamics’ Terms and Conditions of Sale which require the beneficial use of its robots.”
That’ll be very hard to enforce at the end of the day, but Boston Dynamics has a lot of language in its sales documents about misuse. It also said Spot is not certified safe for in-home use or intended for use near children. Thanks for crushing my dreams, Boston Dynamics.
A milestone for quadrupeds
Boston Dynamics has been quite active in showcasing how early adopters used the quadruped in a variety of environments, including construction sites, nuclear facilities, factories, research labs and more. In May 2020, it released Spot 2.0 via various software upgrades that created enhanced autonomy, communications, navigation, payload support, and more.
“At Boston Dynamics, we have spent decades creating and refining robots with advanced mobility, dexterity and intelligence because we believe agile robots can solve a broad range of real world problems,” said Marc Raibert, chairman and founder of Boston Dynamics. “The combination of Spot’s sophisticated software and high performance mechanical design enables the robot to augment difficult or dangerous human work. Now you can use Spot to increase human safety in environments and tasks where traditional automation hasn’t been successful.”
Coincidentally, or perhaps not, Switzerland-based ANYbotics announced today the first production batch of its ANYmal C quadruped was delivered to engineering partners and research customers worldwide. ANYmal C targets data collection applications, among other things, for the energy, chemical, mining and construction industries. Chinese firm Unitree Robotics makes a low-cost quadruped called AlienGo. But, as you can see, there aren’t many commercial-class quadrupeds on the market.
Boston Dynamics was named a winner of the RBR50 Innovation Awards, which were just announced yesterday by our sister publication Robotics Business Review. Here’s why Boston Dynamics won:
“Quadruped robots have historically been relegated to research labs. The high prices, combined with challenges in agility, control, power consumption and stability, often make them less reliable and desirable than wheeled mobile robots. Boston Dynamics is hoping to change that and kick-start the commercial quadruped market with the limited release of Spot.
“This is not only an important measuring stick for quadruped robots as a technology, but it is also a crucial test for Boston Dynamics’ goals of solving the hard problems in robotics. These efforts have led to major new functionality, as the company focuses on developing robots for real-world applications.”
Boston Dynamics asks in its commercial launch video, “Can robots handle the real world?” We’re about to find out if Spot is up to the task. Finally.