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Boston Dynamics Partners with Rocos To Enhance Spot Robot

Robot operations platform provider Rocos and mobile robot powerhouse Boston Dynamics announced a partnership today to provide remote mission design and execution, along with new teleoperation functionality for the Spot autonomous robot.

Boston Dynamics is one of the world's best-known robot makers. The 2015 YouTube video of the company's four-legged Spot robot ambulating through an office, hiking over steep mountain terrain, and jogging beside a human runner has attracted more than 24 million views.

Spot is a customizable mobile robot built to navigate rugged environments and capture data in real time, and feed that data into existing business systems, wherever they are located. In the energy sector, this capability provides real-time anomaly detection, as well as access to historic digital records for comparison. In agriculture, farmers can access information such as more accurate and up-to-date yield estimates. This provides access to a new category of automation, and a safer, more efficient business, the company says.

The Rocos Robot Operation Platform is a cloud platform for building and managing robot operations. It was designed to enable organizations to connect, monitor, and control robots at scale.

Coupled with the Rocos platform, Spot can now be managed easily from a remote location. Missions can be designed and edited on the fly, and sensor data collected on the mission can be accessed by remote teams, the companies said. Spot can also be manually teleoperated to investigate issues, capture new data, or be redirected as required.

In early testing, the Boston Dynamics team, which is based in the US, navigated previously uncharted terrain in New Zealand, remotely accessing Spot through Rocos' Web UI.

Using the combined technologies, organizations can plan and schedule missions, remotely operate their robots in the exploration of uncharted territory, capture 3D visualizations and other sensor data in their environment, navigate risky or dangerous terrain, and proactively intervene in required situations, the companies said. All of this possible in either offline or online modes.

While Robotics companies are producing very capable machines for achieving specific tasks, the "missing link," says Rocos CEO David Inggs, is a cloud-based platform to connect, monitor ,and automate the activities of a fleet.

"By connecting robots to the cloud, we can help [Boston Dynamics] combine a cloud software layer with robotics to achieve physical automation at scale," Inggs said in a statement.

The current pandemic has thrown a spotlight on the potential of autonomous robots and their use to encourage social distancing, clean public spaces and hospitals, and even deliver medication, Inggs said.

"The age of autonomous robots is upon us," he said.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of Converge360.com sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at jwaters@converge360.com.


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