Here’s a snapshot of what would happen if
Savage put out his first video showcasing Boston Dynamics’ quadruped robot, Spot, in late January of this year, but this is the first time we’ve seen him literally put the robo-pup through its paces. And while clapping a rickshaw onto Spot’s back doesn’t seem like the most productive way to use the robotic tool, it makes sense from a demonstration standpoint. One of Spot’s biggest selling points—and Spot will
hunt be super helpful in packs.)
For those who are totally unfamiliar with Spot, the good news is that the quadrupedal robot is not as creepy as the ones in that crazy episode of
The demonstration is especially interesting because it helps to show which stage of development Spot’s currently in, as well as what Spot’s potential is as a tool in the future. Note that Spot—as well as everybody’s favorite backflipping bipedal bot, Atlas—is remote controlled by a human operator, and is not yet autonomous. In fact, we see in the video that Spot needs adjustments to its out-of-the-box software in order to better complete its task of pulling Savage and his rickshaw; we’ve even had a robotics expert from Caltech reassure us that there is no machine learning going on with these robots whatsoever. Although the fact that Spot’s able to get from point A to point B and make whatever corrections are necessary to do so over varied landscapes is still miraculous, and a testament to the significant progress that’s been made in robotic locomotion.
It’s exciting to think about what tasks Savage may come up with next for Spot, because we know they’ll hint at potential real-world use cases. Incidentally, we’d also very much like to see drag racing with robot dog-driven vehicles. Adam Savage in his Victorian-era steampunk rickshaw versus Russell Crowe in whatever kind of glorious chariot will be racing around in
What do you think about Adam Savage’s robotic rickshaw? Would you jump in the back and go for a stroll, or would you prefer to just get a head-start on running towards the horizon as fast as possible? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!