Boston Dynamics has unveiled significant updates and hardware improvements for its Spot robot. These advancements are designed to enhance Spot’s autonomous inspection capabilities and improve human-robot interaction in various industrial settings.
A primary focus of the update is streamlining inspection workflows through automation. Spot now offers improved capabilities for thermal monitoring, acoustic leak detection, and gauge reading. During thermal inspections, the robot can capture multiple regions of interest in a single photo, enabling users to compare temperatures and set alerts for temperature differences in up to three areas.
Gauge reading has been simplified with the integration of a computer vision add-on developed in partnership with Levatas. Spot can now inspect analog gauges across different sites and monitor trends using the Scout remote operation software. Abnormal readings trigger alerts, facilitating prompt response and intervention.
With the addition of the Fluke SV600 payload, Spot now has the ability to perform acoustic inspections. The robot can detect abnormal noise readings, generating alerts that help identify potential issues and improve inspection efficiency.
The Scout remote operation software has also received user-focused enhancements. The introduction of new permissions sets and a dashboard allows users to monitor and review the progress of their Spot robots more effectively. Additionally, mission and action parameters can now be edited within Scout, eliminating the need to re-record missions and providing greater operational flexibility.
In terms of hardware, Boston Dynamics has implemented features to enhance human-robot interaction. Spot is now equipped with an audio-visual system that includes pre-configured light patterns and tones. These cues alert nearby workers to the robot’s activities in their vicinity, improving safety and situational awareness.
To further prioritize safety, a physical emergency stop button has been added to the back of the Spot robot, complementing the existing quick stop options available on the tablet and in Scout.
Spot’s stability on slippery surfaces, such as wet floors, has been improved through enhanced gaits, reducing the risk of accidents during inspections.
Another notable addition is Spot’s autonomous manipulation capability, still in the beta phase. The robot’s arm can now autonomously open doors during Autowalk missions, enabling more efficient inspection routes and the ability to navigate independently through various rooms, even in unoccupied facilities.