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Fed up with mounds of pet hair in the house? Can’t be doing with early morning walkies? Why not trade in the Labrador for a robot dog?

Actually it just looks like a robot dog. But the SpotMini robot made by Boston Dynamics will be on sale in 2019. And if you have a few grand to spare it could be a replacement for Rover. Not as cuddly though. But you’re more likely to see the dog robot in a factory rather than running around the local park

Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert said at an event in California that the robot is in pre-production and preparing for commercial availability next year.

Introduced in 2017, SpotMini is a small, four-legged robot that weighs 30kg. The robot can run for about 90 minutes on one charge, depending on what it is doing.

Speaking onstage at TechCrunch’s TC Sessions: Robotics 2018, Raibert said: “The SpotMini robot is one that was motivated by thinking about what could go in an office – in a space more accessible for business applications – and then, the home eventually.”

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SpotMini is capable of being driven semi-autonomously, and is able to navigate itself using a series of cameras.

The robot’s main frame has cameras in the front, sides, and at the back. It can be upgraded with a series of attachments, including an extended arm.

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Raibert said: “We have a surveillance package where we have special … low-light cameras that can mount on the back, there’ll be a camera that goes in the arm … and that computer is one that’s designed to take user code.

“The application is very much like the industrial security one, where you want to go around and use your sensors in order to assess what’s going on, but here it’s in a process where the environments are changing every day, the terrain is very varied.”

Warning – video may contain third party ads.

Boston Dynamics also released a video of the robot in autonomous mode navigating through an office and lab facility, using data from its cameras to detect and avoid obstacles.

Raibert said the company has plans with contract manufacturers to build the first 100 SpotMinis later this year for commercial purposes, with the goal of selling the robot in 2019. So far 10 prototypes have been built.

The company did not announce the price of the robot at the event. But if you start putting your spare change in a jar right now you may be able to afford the plug by the time the robot dog is put on sale in 2019.

Is robot dog the short end of the wedge? Read about the delivery bot invasion.

* Prices correct at time of posting.

1 COMMENT

  1. OMG! Has anyone seen the series Black Mirror? There is an episode called Metalhead which is about these robot dogs. Only they have turned into killing machines!!

    Exactly like these…..

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