How Boston Dynamics is developing Spot for real-world applications

Spot, Boston Dynamics’ quadruped robot, can reliably walk nearly anywhere a human can, but what does it do? While legged mobility is necessary for many use cases, it’s not the only requirement for value-producing applications.

At the Robotics Summit & Expo (May 10-11 in Boston), Marco Da Silva, senior director of R&D at Boston Dynamics, will discuss how the company is “Developing Spot for Real-World Applications.” The session, which takes place on May 11 from 2-2:45 PM, will specifically focus on the work done to develop Spot for remote and autonomous sensing applications. These developments include:

Encapsulating Spot’s mobility in an extensible API
Building an autonomous capability
Making it easy to add sensing to build value-producing solutions 

Spot’s recent updates have included built-in data processing and review, an improved data collection pipeline and a better operator experience, all aimed to make Spot better at the various jobs it’s deployed to do. These updates are particularly aimed at improving Spot’s data collection capabilities, which it uses in many of its inspection jobs.

Spot has use cases across many industries, including construction, oil and gas, energy and more. Since its release, Boston Dynamics continues to enhance the capabilities of Spot. Feedback from customers, and the experience gained from operating in difficult, industrial situations, are enabling the Spot development team to improve Spot’s capabilities.

da Silva is currently focused on making Spot useful as a tool for autonomous inspection of industrial facilities, remote inspection in dangerous settings, and other applications. Prior to Spot, he was platform director for Atlas, a program to develop the world’s most advanced biped robot. da Silva joined Boston Dynamics in 2010 after graduating with a PhD from MIT. Prior to that, he worked at Pixar Animation Studios from 2001 to 2005.

You can find the full agenda for the Robotics Summit here. The event will also feature a conversation with Marc Raibert, executive director of the AI Institute and founder and chairman of the board at Boston Dynamics. Raibert will discuss opportunities for the robotics industry and the most important and difficult challenges facing the creation of advanced robots. It will also describe how the new AI Institute is pushing the limits of technological innovation to solve these challenges.

The Robotics Summit & Expo is the premier event for commercial robotics developers. There will be nearly 70 industry-leading speakers sharing their development expertise on stage during the conference, with 150-plus exhibitors on the showfloor showcasing their latest enabling technologies, products and services that help develop commercial robots. There also will be a career fair, networking opportunities and more. Register for full conference passes by March 9 to save $300. Expo-only passes are just $75. Academic discounts are available and academic full conference rates are just $295.

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