Inside the Boston Dynamics Marketing Plan
In June 2020, Boston Dynamics began selling its first trading robot: Spot.
It was a great moment for the company. For most of its 30 years of existence, Boston Dynamics has focused on research and development. Initially, Boston Dynamics received a large portion of its funding from the US military and DARPA. It was later funded by big owners such as Google, SoftBank, and more recently Hyundai. All of these companies have tried to put the robot maker on the road to commercialization, and Boston Dynamics is finally getting there.
“I expect that we will become a serial producer of new robots with advanced capabilities. I think we will build, say three to five years, we will deploy a new robot targeting a new industry,” says Robert Playter , CEO of Boston Dynamics.
But for now, Boston Dynamics is focusing on the inspection and warehouse industries with its Spot and Stretch robots.
“The next big industry for Spot is really in this market that we call industrial sensing or dynamic sensing, that’s where we have robots roaming around places like manufacturing plants, chemical factories, departments. public, facilities and use the robots to collect data about what is going on in those facilities in an automated way, ”says Zack Jackowski, Spot Product Engineer.“ And that’s really interesting, because once you start By getting this highly reproducible, high-quality data, you can begin to understand these facilities and their efficiency in new ways. “
Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot performs an inspection at a National Grid substation in Massachusetts.
So far, Spot has been used to perform inspections at construction sites, oil rigs, nuclear power plants, to check the vital signs of Covid-19 patients in hospitals, and even to remind people to maintain social distancing in the midst of the pandemic. Boston Dynamics said it has sold several hundred Spot robots so far, with the entry-level robot costing around $ 75,000.
The company’s other trading robot, Stretch, is focused on the warehouse market.
“We think of Stretch as a general purpose box moving machine that can be used anywhere in the warehouse,” explains Playter. “Something like 800 million containers are shipped around the world every year. A lot of them are full of boxes. There are probably trillions of boxes that are loaded and unloaded by hand every year in the United States. . It’s a huge job. It’s a mountain of material that needs to be moved. Stretch is really a powerful tool in helping people move this material. “
Stretch is made up of a few different parts. The robot uses a mobile base to move around tight spaces and climb loading ramps. An arm, gripper, vision cameras and sensors allow the robot to identify and manipulate a variety of different objects. Initially, the robot will be used for loading and unloading trucks.
Boston Dynamics says it expects Stretch to go on sale next year, although it doesn’t provide pricing. Customers can also choose to purchase only the computer vision software that powers Stretch, which Boston Dynamics calls Pick. The company says it’s working with a few early adopters to test the robot, but wouldn’t say who those partners are.
Watch the video to learn more about the history of Boston Dynamics and the company’s plan to move from R&D to commercialization.