The robotic dogs are about to enter the world of technology to amaze as well as freak numerous people.
Boston Dynamics has 10 SpotMini prototypes now and will work with manufacturing partners to build 100 this year, company co-founder and President Marc Raibert said at a TechCrunch robotics conference Friday. “That’s a prelude to getting into a higher rate of production” in anticipation of sales next year, he said.
Who’ll buy it? Probably not you, at least to start.
Raibert didn’t reveal price plans, but said the SpotMini robots could be useful for security patrols or for helping construction companies keep tabs on what’s happening at building sites. SpotMini can be customized with attachments and extra software for particular jobs, he said.
Eventually, though, the company hopes to sell it for use in people’s homes.
“Most places have something where wheels don’t get you everywhere,” Raibert said. “We think SpotMini can go to a much larger fraction of places.”
Boston Dynamics is among the highest-profile robot companies out there. It made a bang with its gas-powered Big Dog quadruped, which could navigate challenging terrain while keeping its balance. Later, the company unveiled Atlas, a humanoid robot that can do flips, pick up boxes and can now run.
SpotMini, whose development began while Boston Dynamics was a Google subsidiary, is remarkable for being cute, as well as fascinating to watch. That’s pretty valuable given how leery a lot of us are about our future robot overlords.
Boston Dynamics, now owned by Masayoshi Son’s firm Softbank, combines near-term commercial priorities with “blue sky” projects that won’t bear fruit for a long time. Atlas isn’t close to being a product today, but technology like its hydraulics and power supply benefit today’s work, Raibert said.