What just happened? Robotics company Boston Dynamics has released a new video showing what a team of its SpotMini machines are capable of. In the short clip, ten of the quadruped robots, which each weigh 66 pounds, are seen pulling a massive truck along a road.
We last saw SpotMini over a year ago when Boston Dynamics showed how it could open doors using an armlike appendage, complete with a claw hand, attached to its back. The design was an evolution of the first SpotMini, whose terrifying gripping arm made it resemble something from a horror movie.
The robot is a shrunken version of the original Spot, a 160-pound machine created under a DARPA contract as a reconnaissance asset, but the gas-powered engines and hydraulics made it sound like a chainsaw, which meant the military abandoned its plans to use the machine.
In the latest video, we see ten SpotMinis working in tandem to pull the box truck up a one-degree incline in the company’s car park. There’s someone behind the wheel in case things go wrong, but the vehicle remains in neutral.
In related news, the SpotMini is now moving off the production line and will be available for "a range of applications soon." Company founder Marc Raibert already said that the robot, which can operate for about 90 minutes on a charge, will be commercially available this year.
The SpotMinis are expected to be used for commercial purposes, so it will probably be a while before we see them hunting down humans in the style of Black Mirror’s ‘Metalhead’ episode.
In what was possibly the first step toward humanity's enslavement by machines, Boston Dynamics last year showed its human-like Atlas robot jumping over logs, running, and leaping up platforms.