On-Site Magazine

Boston Dynamics adds arm to dog-like job site robot

February 2, 2021   By On-Site Staff


Spot, the dog-like robot from Boston Dynamics that has been cropping up on construction sites and other industrial facilities, is now armed and ready.

The U.S.-based robotics firm announced upgrades to its agile mobile robot Feb. 2 that include an additional limb and an updated web-based remote operations software

The Spot Arm is capable of semi-autonomously gripping, lifting, carrying, placing and dragging a wide variety of objects. It lets the robot perform basic human functions like opening doors, turning handles and opening or closing valves. Though still focused on data collection, the new functionality lets Spot get in and out of areas it may not have been able to previously, in addition to letting it tackle simple tasks.

“Our customers want reliable data collection in remote, hazardous, and dynamic worksites,” Robert Playter, the CEO of Boston Dynamics, said in a release. “We developed the new Spot products with these needs in mind, and with the goal of making it easy to regularly and remotely perform critical inspections, improving safety and operations.”

Watch the new arm in action:

From a software standpoint, a new platform known as Spot Scout lets operators control one — or an entire fleet of the quadrupedal robots — from a control room. Boston Dynamics said the upgrade includes a simpler interface that is able to run pre-programmed autonomous missions in addition to manually controlling the robot.

The Waltham, Mass.-based robotics firm, which Hyundai Motor Group recently purchased a controlling interest in, also introduced a self-charging station for Spot. It said the dock will let the robot take on longer inspections without the need for human interaction.

Among others in construction, Quebec-based Pomerleau launched a pilot project last year that put Spot to work collecting data on a job site in Montreal.


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