Boston Dynamics upgrades Spot with faster charging, new payloads, 5G

Editor’s Note: At the Robotics Summit & Expo, which takes place May 10-11 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Boston Dynamics will give attendees the chance to take Spot for a walk at Booth 149. Spaces for the unique experience will be limited, and will be able to be booked through the event app. Kevin Blankespoor, senior vice president and general manager of warehouse robotics at Boston Dynamics, will be closing the show with his keynote titled The Next Generation of Mobile Robot Applications. It will take place on May 11, 2022 at 4:00 PM. 

Boston Dynamics announced the latest upgrades for its popular quadruped robot Spot. The upgrades include faster charging times, more payloads and support for 5G connectivity. Boston Dynamics has added additional payloads to the quadruped to help it operate in more areas. 

The Spot CORE I/O is a high-efficiency computer payload that gives Spot the ability to process data in the field. With CORE I/O, which uses the NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX module, Spot can perform vision-based site inspections and continuous data collection. 

The CORE I/O also provides 5G network connectivity for the quadruped. The payload includes a built-in 5G modem for faster and more reliable network connections. Along with the upgrades, Boston Dynamics announced AT&T will be its first 5G provider. 

Boston Dynamics has also expanded Spot’s connectivity capabilities with another payload. With the Rajant Kinetic Mesh Radio Kit, Spot can be quickly deployed in an isolated network with no infrastructure changes. The kit includes a Rajant ES1 BreadCrump radio payload that mounts onto Spot, as well as three standalone Kinetic Mesh radios. The kit offers coverage of up to 200,000 square feet. 

Along with Spot’s connectivity upgrades, Boston Dynamics gave the robot hardware updates. The robot’s five stereo cameras now provide full color imagery and existing depth information. While Spot doesn’t need color images to understand what it’s seeing, human operators will have an easier time making sense of the robot’s environment. 

Spot’s new Samsung tablet is touchscreen and is lighter and bigger than the old tablet. | Source: Boston Dynamics

Spot’s tablet, which can be used to control the robot, has received a number of upgrades. The new Samsung tablet has an intuitive touchscreen, an eight-hour battery life, shock protecting and weather-proofing. The tablet is bigger and lighter than previous versions, making mission editing, teleoperation and data review easier. 

Boston Dynamics offers a physical joystick to control the Spot Arm, and virtual joysticks that control the robot itself. Spot’s charger can now bring the robot to full battery in less than an hour. 

Boston Dynamics won an RBR50 Robotics Innovation Award from The Robot Report‘s sister publication Robotics Business Review. Boston Dynamics won the award for the introduction of Spot Enterprise, a previously upgraded version of the quadruped that offered expanded capabilities and allowed for new classes of applications for the robot.

Boston Dynamics also released this video below that shows how Spot can help industrial teams keep their sites efficient and safe.

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