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

By midian182 ยท 9 replies
Apr 26, 2017
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  1. 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.”

    Permalink to story.

  2. Igrecman

    Igrecman TS Maniac Posts: 300   +178

    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.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
  3. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,219   +1,657

    Only in Philadelphia
  4. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,011   +1,280

    Probably work better/longer/faster than the human post office people ;)
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,525   +3,906

    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 Posts: 1,738   +826

    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.
  7. Igrecman

    Igrecman TS Maniac Posts: 300   +178

    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
  8. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,412   +629

    I wonder if Spot can get up if it tips over. You know someone will give it a shove eventually.
    Bryan1223 likes this.
  9. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,238   +692

    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.
    RevD14 likes this.
  10. Bryan1223

    Bryan1223 TS Member Posts: 61   +10

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