- Robotics company Boston Dynamics has begun leasing out one of its robots for the first time ever.
- It's leasing out Spot, a dog-like robot which it says could be used for inspecting building sites or oil and gas facilities.
- Boston Dynamics' VP of business development Michael Perry told TechCrunch the company's getting a "deluge" of applications.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Boston Dynamics, the robotics company famous for sending the internet into a frenzy with videos of its disconcertingly life-like robots, is getting ready to foray into the real world.
On Tuesday the company announced it is starting to lease out its dog-like Spot robots (formerly known as Spot Mini). To accompany the announcement, Boston Dynamics made a slick ad boasting of Spot's capabilities.
With a top speed of 3mph and a battery life of around 90 minutes, Spot is able to go up and down stairs, traverse uneven terrain, and even go out in the rain, according to Boston Dynamics.
On its website Boston Dynamics suggests Spot could be used to inspect building sites, oil and gas facilities, or "public safety."
The company emphasised to The Verge that Spot would not be sold for any military application.
"Fundamentally, we don't want to see Spot doing anything that harms people, even in a simulated way… That's something we're pretty firm on when we talk to customers," VP of business development Michael Perry told The Verge.
In the past Boston Dynamics has developed robots with potential military uses, such as its original Spot robot which was designed to scout for the marines.
Perry told TechCrunch that the company has already started to ship Spot. "Last month we started delivering robots to customers, as part of an early adopter program. The question we're posing to these early customers is 'what do you think spot can do for you that's valuable?' We had some initial ideas, but it's all our thinking and the hope is that this program will enable a whole new set of use cases," he said.
Boston Dynamics hasn't put an upfront price on leasing out Spot, prospective buyers have to fill out a form on the company's website. Perry told TechCrunch the company was getting a "deluge" of applications — some more serious than others. "Some are legitimate applications, but some just want Spot as a pet, or to get them a beer from the fridge. It would be thrilling to accommodate them, but we're not quite there yet," he said.
This is the first time one of Boston Dynamics' robots has left the lab, a major landmark for the company which has been heavily research-focused since its inception in 1997. Its lack of marketable products is why Google sold the company to Japanese conglomerate SoftBank in 2017.