Boston Dynamics' Spot robot could have a future as a mailman

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

We know that Boston Dynamics builds some pretty amazing, albeit often terrifying, robots, but the company has struggled to find the best application for its machines. However, it seems at least one of them – the dog-like Spot – could find a commercial use delivering packages.

While the Google-owned company’s four-legged robots originally seemed perfect for the military, it turned out that the large LS3 (Legged Squad Support System, also known as BigDog) was far too loud for use in the field. The electric-powered Spot was thought to have solved the problem, but it can’t carry anywhere near the same amount of weight as the LS3.

At the TED 2017 conference, Boston Dynamics founder and CEO Marc Raibert revealed a video of Spot delivering a package strapped to its back to someone’s home. What makes it so suited to the task is that it can walk up stairs and open doors while carrying deliveries.

“We’ve been taking our robot to our employees’ homes to see whether we could get in the various access ways,” said Raibert. “We’re doing very well — about 70 percent of the way.”

Spot is the larger version of the SpotMini, which we recently saw helping out around the house in a video from the company.

More firms are turning to automated machines as a way of delivering goods. While they use wheels rather than four legs, DoorDash and Domino's have been testing out their delivery robots.

Back in February, Boston Dynamics unveiled Handle, a wheeled machine which, while impressive, has been described as “Nightmare-inducing.”

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Igrecman

TS Maniac
I dunno. They might get beaten up and destroyed by people afraid of the rise of Skynet (Terminator), or by unemployed people frustrated by a job stealing robot.
 
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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
But the real question is ..... if it looks so much like a dog, what are all the dogs that used to chase the mailman going to do?????? Another species retired all thanks to automation .....
 

IAMTHESTIG

TS Evangelist
I'm sure these have great applications for jobs that people don't want to do, or can't. Carrying supplies for soldiers was one of the first roles that looked good. What about using them to enter buildings that are on fire to help guide people out or arm them with fire extinguishers? Or searching for stranded or injured people in disaster areas? Transporting small amounts of goods and supplies for emergency crews? Seems like all kinds of stuff that would be useful.
 

Igrecman

TS Maniac
I'm sure these have great applications for jobs that people don't want to do, or can't. Carrying supplies for soldiers was one of the first roles that looked good. What about using them to enter buildings that are on fire to help guide people out or arm them with fire extinguishers? Or searching for stranded or injured people in disaster areas? Transporting small amounts of goods and supplies for emergency crews? Seems like all kinds of stuff that would be useful.
All of this can be done much better and for a much lower price tag by flying drones of all sizes. Those robots are too heavy and too expensive for now to compete with drones IMHO
 

mbrowne5061

TS Evangelist
The only people who are describing these bots as "nightmare inducing" are TechSpot writers. I don't think it is really fare to say "has been described as" and then not reveal you were the one doing the original describing. Raise your editorial standard TechSpot.
 
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