Team of SpotMini robots pull a box truck up a hill

April 17, 2019 by Bob Yirka, Phys.org

Robot company Boston Dynamics has made a statement just prior to putting its SpotMini on the market, releasing a video showing a team of 10 SpotMinis pulling a box truck slightly uphill in a parking lot. The SpotMini, dog-like robot, will be available for sale in the coming months.

As with all of its robots, the folks at Boston Dynamics have made several iterations of the SpotMini, which the calls its quietest robot ever. The of the little robots tethered together like a pack of sled dogs pulling a truck was likely made to attract attention and boost sales. But it also demonstrates that the little robot can work with others of its kind to accomplish a task.

The SpotMini is close in size to a sled dog at just three-quarters of a meter tall, though it weighs a bit more at 25 kg. It can also carry things on its back that weigh up to 14 kg. The four-legged robot also has a battery that lasts for approximately 90 minutes under normal circumstances.

Boston Dynamics has made a lot of videos showing off the capabilities of the SpotMini, some of which can be seen on the company website. It can climb stairs, navigate an and even get itself back on its feet if it slips and falls on a banana peel. The company describes it as nimble, and notes that the little robot got its name indirectly from what the company calls its big brother Spot—a larger dog-like robot featured in many other videos on YouTube. The little robot, like its bigger brother, has a variety of sensors and cameras that allow it to maneuver in the real world. The SpotMini also has an optional arm that attaches to the front of the robot that can be used for picking up and moving things.

Currently, it is not clear which type of customers Boston Dynamics is looking for, but the company reports that it is developing a range of applications which should be available when the robot goes on sale sometime later this year—likely only to commercial entities. The company has also not yet announced the cost of the .

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