Not content with mastering parkour, Boston Dynamics is putting one of its advanced robots to "work" for the first time. In a YouTube video released by the company, the latest version of its Spot quadruped robot starts its new job demonstrating its ability to carry out on-the-spot inspections of building sites in Japan.
The way that Boston Dynamics' robots have evolved has been both intriguing and slightly alarming. Last week, the company's bipedal Atlas showed off its gymnastic abilities and now Spot is hitting the construction sites. A descendant of the BigDog and Wildcat robots, the electrically-powered Spot is much smaller and sleeker than its predecessors, with a streamlined design that allows it to handle human environments.
The video shows two versions of Spot working at the Takenaka Corporation and Fujita Corporation building sites in Japan. At the former, the robot was equipped with the disturbing arm/neck featured on previous Boston Dynamics robots. This one seemed to be equipped with a camera or some other sensor protected by a clamshell hand/mouth for closer inspections of features. The latter had no arms, but carried a glowing plastic box on its back. On the tail of each is what looks like a complex cone in a protective cage that seems to be some sort of navigation apparatus.
The video shows the robot strutting around the sites like a determined dog, stopping occasionally to inspect installations. Because Spot is equipped with sensors fore and aft, it negotiated stairwells and narrow corridors by simply reversing when there wasn't room to turn around.
Though the company, as usual, is light on details, construction sites seem a logical place for such testing and demonstrations, playing into a robots strengths but still providing ample opportunity to show off the its ability to adapt to challenging environments and new situations.
The company says that Spot robot will be available in the second half of next year for a variety of applications.
Source: Boston Dynamics
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