But what are they going to do?
At CEBIT back in June, Boston Dynamics’ CEO Marc Raibert mentioned in a talk that they’re currently building about 100 SpotMinis, and that they’re planning on scaling that up to be able to build something like 1,000 SpotMinis by the end of 2019. This has attracted some attention recently, since it seems like Boston Dynamics is ready to “productify” its robots on a commercial scale, and Raibert even mentioned some areas in which they’ve had interest from potential customers. “We’re trying to take what we already know, and reduce it to practice by making robot products,” he said. “Robot products are new for Boston Dynamics … we’ve been operating for a long time working on the future, and now we’re trying to make practical products.”
Making practical robotic products is a very difficult thing to do, as Boston Dynamics knows. And Raibert did a good job contextualizing how big that challenge is. As always, though, this got a little bit lost in the middle of the impressive videos and demos that followed, and there’s been a lot of attention focused on one specific application that for some reason seems to capture people’s imagination: package delivery.
Sure, a pack of SpotMinis jumping out the back of a truck and carrying boxes to our doorsteps sounds pretty cool. But that’s not the only application Boston Dynamics envisions for SpotMini and its other robots, especially when they’re talking about unleashing thousands of them on the world. So where are they likely to show up? Let’s take a look at some realistic options.
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