Now any US business can buy Boston Dynamics; Spot robot for $74,500

Now any US business can buy Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot for $74,500.

It took Boston Dynamics a quarter of a century to release its first commercial product, so one can forgive the company for taking a few extra months to make that product more widely available. Nine months after making Spot available in limited quantities under its Early Adopter Program, the yellow and black quadruped is now available to any business that wants one.

According to the company, some 150 Spot robots were made available to businesses and research facilities in that early program. And certainly we’ve seen it get a lot of use globally, from construction sites to socially distancing in a Singapore park to a reoccurring gig on an Adam Savage web series.

Other early adopters, per BD:

Saving approximately 20 hours of work per week by automating the capture of nearly 5,000 images weekly on Quebec-based construction firm Pomerleau’s 500,000-square-foot building project.

Increasing data-collection efficiency and safety in Hensel Phelps’s construction of Denver International Airport’s main terminal, and automating the capture of laser scans and 360-degree images to reduce the risk of return visits and project delays.

Leveraging computer-vision-based anomaly detection software to reduce human risk in potentially dangerous tasks for AkerBP’s energy production facilities.

Autonomously navigating tough, underground terrain with NASA Jet Propulsion Lab Team CoSTAR’s integrated autonomy, perception and communication tools, an application which ultimately won the most recent DARPA Subterranean Challenge Competition, the Urban Circuit.

One of the bigger issues the company has had when it comes to commercializing its product is finding sufficiently compelling use cases to justify the price. No one is questioning how impressive Boston Dynamics’ robots are, but there’s been a good deal of doubt about whether they’re too sophisticated to be deployed for menial tasks. Along with valuable real-world testing, the pilot program has outsourced the discovery of important use cases to third-parties.

As new uses become clear, the company will continue to develop modules to expand the robot’s uses. Though the company seems pretty keen on making sure everyone who purchases a Spot is using it to a productive end, noting that, “all orders will be subject to Boston Dynamics’ Terms and Conditions of Sale which require the beneficial use of its robots.” That probably means that the sequined-wearing, blender-sporting Party Spot I saw on a recent trip to BD’s offices won’t be getting a green light any time soon.

I suspect the company is also keen to dispel the sorts of “killer robot” memes that have followed it around since the earliest days of the Big Dog. If nothing else, videos the company debuted at our Robotics event of the robot being used in Massachusetts state police training were an important lesson about the optics around the robot’s usage.

Starting today, applicable businesses in the U.S. can purchase the Spot Explorer dev kit for a cool $74,500, limited two per customer. That will get you:

Tablet controller and charger.

Robot case for storage and transportation.

Power case for battery and charger storage and transportation.

Python client packages for the Spot API’s.

Software updates when available.

There will be different pricing for enterprise and educational customers, as well.