Boston Dynamics' dog-like SpotMini robot to start selling in 2019

SpotMini_robot

According to Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert, the company is in the final stages of getting the SpotMini ready for the market as soon as next year.

At a robotics conference in California, the company's founder Marc Raibert announced that the slightly creepy SpotMini was now in pre-production and scheduled for large-scale production and general availability from middle of 2019. The SpotMini robots are expected to be used for security patrols or in construction companies to keep tabs on what's happening at building sites.

"SpotMini in pre-production now", said Raibert. The video also shows Atlas successfully tackling an obstacle in its path in the form of a wooden log by stopping in an ungainly manner and jumping over it.

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The four-legged robot weighs 25kg and can pick up and handle objects using its 5 degree-of-freedom arm and perception sensors. Already, the company says that it has contracted manufacturers to build 100 SpotMinis later in 2018, and will then scale production so that they can sell units beginning next year.

Third-parties will be able to develop systems to mount to SpotMini for different applications, but Raibert said Boston Dynamics was working on a few systems itself.

It's unclear how much the robots will cost or who will be eligible to purchase them.

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The SpotMini has just learned how to climb a bunch of stairs, as we've seen the past week, and its agility might make him quite nimble when it comes to search and rescue operations. It can move around for up to 90 minutes on a single charge. It also takes a tumble on a banana skin, suggesting at least one way we humans can defend ourselves against any upcoming robot rampage.

But that's not what Boston Dynamics had in mind for it.

Updated on May 13: The SpotMini will go on sale in 2019.

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