Robotics specialist Boston Dynamics on Tuesday started offering its quadruped Spot robot for sale to interested businesses for the first time. Up to this point, Spot was only available to lease through the company’s early adopter program which opened in late 2019. The price? About as much as a brand new Tesla Model S.
First introduced in 2016, the canine-inspired robot is more of a general purpose workhorse than some of Boston Dynamics’ earlier (and far creepier) creations.
During the initial leasing period, more than 150 robots were employed by businesses and research facilities around the world for use in a variety of environments. While some may recall Adam Savage using a Spot to pull his custom rickshaw, others have been using them for far more productive tasks including monitoring decommissioned nuclear sites and to document construction progress.
At least one early adopter even commissioned the bot to perform in theme parks. I wonder how that compares to Chuck E. Cheese’s animatronics?
Those concerned with matters of security should fret not, we’re told. All data logged by the robot is encrypted, as are messages between Spot and its owner. No data is sent to Boston Dynamics without explicit consent, the company said.
Boston Dynamics, now owned by SoftBank, is restricting sales to the US for now although some international markets are still open for the leasing option. Recruiting your own robotic companion will set you back $74,500 which includes a $1,000 deposit that is due at checkout. Add-ons, like an extended warranty and an additional battery, aren’t exactly cheap either, so be sure to consider all costs before ordering.
Also worth mentioning are a few other precautions and guidelines. For example, Boston Dynamics notes that Spot is not certified safe for in-home use or for use around children or others that can’t fully appreciate the hazards that come with its operation. Furthermore, buyers are subject to the company’s terms and conditions which include “the beneficial use of its robots.”
If you’re unsure about usage, perhaps you may want to consult the 55-page user guide for starters.