Boston Dynamics, once owned by Google, has always excited us about its robots, but it also made us think about what a future dominated by these beings would look like. With the pandemic, Boston Dynamics had the opportunity to use the Spot in hospitals, but they also accepted controversial jobs, such as guarding the parks of Singapore.
The image of a four-legged robot patrolling a public area was shocking, despite the promise that it could not identify people; it seems that Boston Dynamics has learned from these reactions when launching its robot on the market.
Spot the robotic dog, now on sale
Indeed, for the first time, Boston Dynamics’ robots are available for purchase; until now, the company has made temporary loan agreements with interesting projects. But like any other company, sooner or later it has to make some money.
Spot is the first robot that Boston Dynamics offers for sale, and as we would expect, it is not cheap, with a base price of $74,500; in fact, that is for the ‘basic’ version, since it is possible to improve it with options such as a LIDAR system to analyze its environment, or more batteries, which can add up to $18,450 to the price alone.
The SPOT is capable of performing several tasks, such as transporting objects or accompanying people; but collaboration with the companies that buy the robot (which for now can only be American) will be the key to getting the most out of it.
For ‘beneficial uses’ only
But the most interesting limitation that businesses that want to buy a robotic dog will have is one of the conditions that Boston Dynamics has included: the new owners commit themselves to a ‘beneficial use’ of the robots.
In fact, orders will have to be approved by Boston Dynamics first, as they want to make sure that their creation is not used to ‘harm people or simulate harm to people’. In this way, the company probably wants to prevent its robots from becoming the center of controversy, such as being used by law enforcement or even to commit crimes. Only companies in the commercial or industrial sector will be able to place orders.
Still, it seems that this is the moment of truth, not only for Spot and Boston Dynamics, but for robotics in general. This is the first time that such an advanced robot has been made available to the general public (or at least a part of it).