For years, the internet has been alternately awed and wildly disturbed by the adventures of Spot, the four-legged robotic assistant "dog" from Boston Dynamics. With surprising dexterity, Spot is apparently capable of locomoting, opening doors, and preparing five-star gourmet dishes. (We exaggerate, but then again, Boston Dynamics has not said that it can’t.)
Now, Spot is available for purchase or lease—but you’ll have to be an approved customer. Speaking with IEEE Spectrum, Boston Dynamics CEO Marc Raibert said that the nimble cyber-pooch will find its forever home only with companies that can demonstrate a practical application for it: They have a limited inventory and plan to be selective. “What we’re doing is the productization of Spot,” he said. "It’s really a milestone for us going from robots that work in the lab to these that are hardened for work in the field.”
Spot may prove useful by traversing construction sites and performing visual inspections in workspaces where it may not be safe for humans to be. The robot can trot at up to 3 miles an hour and navigate obstacles using a built-in camera and sensors. Chillingly, it can also climb stairs. Optional add-ons in the future will likely include better cameras and an appendage that can grasp objects.
No price has been announced, though IEEE Spectrum writes it might “cost as much as a luxury car.”