Soon, you’ll be able to call one of Boston Dynamics’ robo-dogs one of your own.
The scarily lifelike robot is finally set to go on sale later this year, Boston Dynamics CEO Marc Raibert told The Verge.
It’s not yet clear how much Spot will cost buyers, but it’s rumored to carry a five-digit price tag.
Boston Dynamics is still testing the four-legged robots out in a variety of environments, such as package delivery and surveying work, according to the Verge.
‘We’re just doing some final tweaks to the design,’ Raibert told the Verge. ‘We’ve been testing them relentlessly.’
Spot has made waves on the internet over the past few years as the four-legged robot has been featured in many Boston Dynamics videos.
The quadrupedal robot has kicked around by researchers, terrified viewers by opening a door and dragging a truck by itself, as well as autonomously loaded a dishwasher.
It highlights how varied the Spot robo-dog has become, which could spell which direction Boston Dynamics will take the machine once it becomes commercially available.
Boston Dynamics offers a few different versions of the robo-dog, including the Spot Classic and the Spot Mini.
The Spot Classic is designed for both indoor and outdoor use. It relies on 360-degree LIDAR technology to navigate and can carry up to 100lbs.
Spot Mini is meant to be a more lightweight, nimble version of the Classic, in that it can carry up to 30lbs and is smaller in size.
Raibert previewed Spot’s upcoming sale as he demonstrated the machine on stage at Amazon’s inaugural Re:MARS conference in Las Vegas, where there were an unexpected mishaps.
A Spot Mini was paraded around the stage, to show off its impressive ability to climb stairs, grab things and navigate objects.
As it turns out, the Spot Mini isn’t the most graceful machine, however, as the robo-dog took a tumble on stage in front of a live audience.
Loving this demo from @BostonDynamics at #reMARS pic.twitter.com/swNqYZjtKm
During a demonstration, the Spot robot suddenly began flailing and crashed to the floor with a thud, generating a concerned ‘Uh oh’ out of Marc Raibert, CEO of Boston Dynamics.
Raibert explained that the machine had failed and would take a few minutes to recover.
It wasn’t clear what exactly caused the robo-dog to fail.
The presenters then hurriedly moved on to demonstrating another Spot Mini robot.
Meanwhile, the limp robo-dog awkwardly laid in a motionless heap in the center of the stage.
Boston Dynamics brought out Spot not just to show off its advanced capabilities, but also to announce that the device is almost ready for commercial release.
Raibert previously said he hopes to have Spot available for purchase by sometime this year, although Boston Dynamics hasn’t set an official launch date.
He envisions Spot being used in a variety of industries, including construction, delivery, security and home assistance.
At Re:MARS, Raibert also explained how the robots could also be used in entertainment scenarios.
One video during the presentation showed a pack of Spot robots fighting over a blue ball in a pseudo wrestling ring.
Raibert believes that in the future, users might be able to have their own Spot robot and duel other players, not unlike BattleBots.
In the meantime, the machines are currently being beta-tested at construction sites and playgrounds.
Spot robots are surprisingly easy to control. Using a simple handheld controller, users can tell the robot where to go, maneuver its robot arm and other actions.
Additionally, Raibert showed off what he called ‘chickenhead mode,’ where Spot’s body can move around any which way, but its head continues to hold still.
There’s cameras on every side of the device, making it particularly useful in roles on construction sites, such as scanning for hazards or opening doors, the Verge noted.
In the future, Boston Dynamics wants to offer the ‘athletic AI’, or the intelligence system underpinning Spot and other robots, as a mobility platform akin to Amazon Web Services.