Robotics company Boston Dynamics announced today that U.S. businesses can now purchase the "explorer" version of its robot Spot at a cost of $74,500.
This is the first time the company has made any of its robots available for sale, according to a press release put out by the company today.
Often referred to as Spot the robot dog, the quadruped robot has been used to herd sheep in New Zealand and even used in parks in Singapore to promote safe physical distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. In a video posted to YouTube by Channel News Asia, Spot can be seen walking around a park in Singapore and using its built-in speaker to play a prerecorded message.
“Let’s keep Singapore healthy. For your own safety and for those around you, please stand at least one meter apart. Thank you,” the message says.
As reported by WBUR in November, Massachusetts State Police became the first law enforcement agency to test out Spot, using it as part of the police department’s bomb squad. This prompted an inquiry by the Massachusetts branch of the ACLU requesting more information regarding its use.
Before today’s announcement, Spot had only been available through a short-term lease program run by Boston Dynamics.
According to the Boston Dynamics website, Spot’s human-like mobility allows it to navigate terrain that is more difficult to navigate for wheeled and track robots—such as environments with stairs or other obstructions on the ground such as cabling. It can also navigate constrained environments, which can cause difficulty for drones. Spot can be controlled by an out-of-box controller or through an application programming interface.
“Spot is designed to go where other robots can’t go and to perform a broad number of tasks,” the release said. “The robot can be reconfigured for various use cases to increase efficiency and greatly reduce safety risks in the workplace.”
Add-ons to Spot can be made with its purchase, including a premium service place for $15,000 or an additional battery at a cost of $4,620.