Robodog ‘Spot’ designed to sniff BOMBS goes into ‘sit’ mode and refuses to move during trial by Massachusetts police
- Massachusetts police bombing team tested the robodog for three months
- It was given to them as a ‘free’ pre-release test in exchange for feedback
- In August 2019, the ‘dog’ was sent to check on a suspicious ‘old brown suitcase’
- The force could not get it out of the ‘sitting mode’ and move towards the threat
- Eventually it was possible to move it, but it took several times before the video quality was not good enough and they had to send a human technician
A robot dog named ‘Spot’, designed to sniff bombs, went into ‘sitting mode’ and refused to move during a live trial by the Massachusetts police.
Spot was made by Boston Dynamics and was on loan to the bombing team in 2019 when the failed test took place, according to a report from OneZero.
The bomb crew was called to a Walmart in Westboro, Massachusetts after employees saw a suspicious “old brown suitcase” in a garbage bin in the parking garage.
Officers decided to have Spot examine the case, but when they turned it on, he went into “sitting mode” and didn’t move – not even after multiple reboots.
Massachusetts Police could eventually have Spot run to the suitcase, but the video quality that he was recording was “not very good” and had to send a human technician to remove the suitcase – there was no bomb in it.
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While testing, Spot found the Massachusetts Police bombing dog that it remained in “sit mode” when they tried to send it to investigate a bomb alert
Fortunately, this was not the only test for the robotic dog during its 90-day trial with the Massachusetts Police – they generally thought it was an advantage for the power.
They found that although it initially refused to move, it achieved its goal of investigating the area for additional threats and confirming observations.
‘Apart from the initial hiccups and with clear room for improvement, we have achieved the aforementioned goal and helped the technology to clear up a suspicious item. A GOOD first mission !! ‘, wrote the police in their report seen by OneZero.
There were other problems during the three-month trial, including the robot dog that “sniffed” in long grass for “no reason.”
They also noticed that they experienced ‘forelegs in panic’ while climbing stairs, which sometimes caused them to fall over and sometimes to be just in place on a slope.
These problems were described as small by the Force, who, according to OneZero, were ‘very enthusiastic’ to work with Spot in the future.
“I am a big fan and look every time I can use Spot as a spoiled child that would do when he makes up his Xmas list,” said Massachusetts state poet, Steve Sicard.
A spokesperson for Spot Developers Boston Dynamics said they were constantly improving the platform through software releases and fixes included that were flagged during testing – such as the live test with the Massachusetts police.
‘Spot’ the Boston Dynamics robot dog has been used by the Massachusetts State Police bombing team, but encountered a few obstacles during testing
They told OneZero that the Force Bomb team offered ‘early testing at no cost in exchange for early feedback’ before it was commercially available.
Spot officially went on sale last year and, according to Boston Dynamics, is currently being used by ‘the majority’ of the top 100 general contractors in the US, who roam independently at construction sites and record images to track the progress of construction.
In February, Norwegian oil company Aker BP ASA announced that it would bring Spot on board ships in the Skarv region of the Norwegian Sea.
Spot, the quadruple robot was developed by Boston Dynamics. Cognite and Aker BP have tested Spot’s mobility in simulated oil and gas environments to ensure that it has access to locations in these facilities that are too difficult to access through traditional automation
According to Aker, Spot is responsible for detecting hydrocarbon leaks, inspecting ship equipment, making mechanical measurements, generating reports and conducting inspections in areas that may be too dangerous for human workers.
“We’re going to work with our customers to find out what robots are good for,” said Marc Raibert, CEO of Boston Dynamics, at Wired.
“It’s not like they can do anything, but that doesn’t mean they’re not good at some things.”
Researchers say that leasing the robot “costs about the same as a car.”
How beautiful a car is depends on how many robots and how long the lease period is, “added Michael Perry, the company’s vice president of business development.
WHAT IS THE SPOT MINI ROBO-DOG FROM BOSTON DYNAMICS?
Boston Dynamics first showed SpotMini, the most advanced robot dog ever made, in a video that was posted in November 2017.
The company, best known for Atlas, has its humanoid robot of 5 feet 9 (1.7 meters) and has unveiled a new “lightweight” version of its Spot Mini robot.
The robotic dog was shown trotting around a garden, with the promise that more information will come from the notoriously mysterious company ‘soon’.
“SpotMini is a small four-legged robot that fits comfortably in an office or home,” the company says on its website.
It weighs 25 kg (55 lb) or 30 kg (66 lb) when you lift the robot arm.
SpotMini is fully electric and can charge for around 90 minutes, depending on what it does, the company says, boasting “SpotMini is the quietest robot we’ve built.”
SpotMini was first unveiled in 2016, and an earlier version of the mini version of spot with a strange extendable neck has been shown to help throughout the house.
In the previous video of the company, the robot is shown that walks out of the company headquarters and appears to be a house.
There it helps to load a dishwasher and bring a can to the trash can.
It also comes into contact with a fallen banana peel at some point and falls dramatically – but uses its extendable neck to push itself back.
“SpotMini is one of the quietest robots we’ve ever built, the company says, because of the electric motors.
‘It has a variety of sensors, including depth cameras, a solid state gyro (IMU) and proprioception sensors in the limbs.
‘These sensors help with navigation and mobile manipulation.
“SpotMini performs some tasks autonomously, but often uses a person for high-level guidance.”