Boston Dynamics says AI advances for Spot the robo-dog are coming

by | Sep 8, 2022 | Technology

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Since Boston Dynamics made its bright yellow robot, Spot, available to the general public to purchase in June 2020, the famously agile robo-dog has gone from cute-yet-creepy quadruped to must-have-helper on the factory floor and in industrial facilities. 

Now, recently-released updates to Spot make gaining data insights a top priority, while Spot’s chief engineer, Zack Jackowski, says researchers are making strides in their long-term efforts to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) into Spot. 

An out-of-the-box experience

The biggest overall difference in Spot’s latest software update, he told VentureBeat, is that the Boston Dynamics team packaged the robot’s applications into a more out-of-the-box experience. 

Historically, robots have been a great platform for developers, but now an operations team without a robotics team can buy a Spot, he explained. “Our typical customer last year was an innovation team at a really large enterprise that has some robotics experience –- they’re able to fend for themselves programming-wise and figure out how to fill in some of the missing pieces of a workflow,” he explained. 

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Now, with the new software update, the team is starting to work with direct users of an inspection robot, such as a maintenance team along with an IT team. 

“They can get that robot and install it without writing any code themselves, without worrying about whether they can work this machine,” he said. “It’s built for maintenance personnel to be able to program missions, and for a non-robotic specialist IT department to be able to integrate that data …

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