Boston Dynamics has scalped a few HEXUS headlines in recent years thanks to its startling robotic technology. The robotic dog 'Spot', and 'SpotMini' drew particular attention with their dextrous adaptability, intelligence, and wide range of touted use cases. Now, for the first time, Spot is available to commercial customers. The Spot Explorer developer kit has been made available at shop.bostondynamics.com for $74,500. There are also enterprise and academic kits/bundles but you have to request a quote for those editions.
"The combination of Spot's sophisticated software and high performance mechanical design enables the robot to augment difficult or dangerous human work," chairman and founder of Boston Dynamics, Marc Raibert, said in a press release. "Now you can use Spot to increase human safety in environments and tasks where traditional automation hasn't been successful."
Ahead of today, Boston Dynamics ran a Spot short-term lease program where over 150 Spot robots were successfully used by domestic and international businesses and research facilities. If you want an idea of what Spot could do for your business, you can check out the video embedded below. As well as the serious stuff like industrial inspections and monitoring, exploration and monitoring of hazardous environments, and medical use - you can see Spot leveraged for fun (dancing, playing games) or in performance art projects.
Spot is modular, so if you buy the Explorer developer kit (US only for now) you might want/need to add various 'payload options' such as various awareness and inspection cameras / LIDAR units, or an Edge CPU or GPU pack for on-robot computation or AI tasks. These can be pricey extras, costing up to $20,000 or $30,000 each. As currently sold, the Spot Explorer developer kit includes the following: the Spot robot, two batteries, a battery charger, a tablet controller, a robot case, a power case, and Python client packages for Spot APIs. A 55 page user guide is available online for free (PDF file).
Boston Dynamics, now owned by Japan's SoftBank, hopes to expand sales internationally later in the year. It currently only manufactures about a thousand units a year, slowed down due to Covid-19, but claims that this operation could be scaled-up based upon demand.