In addition, the robot uses these cameras for simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM) for autonomous navigation. During mapping missions, Spot navigates through a space and creates a 3D point cloud of space to obtain landmarks within the map. This helps the robot know where to go and what behaviors it should perform. A combined video from all five stereo cameras provides live video streaming and a user interface provides access to all cameras.
The Spot robot, formerly called SpotMini, is a four-legged robot developed by the American robotics company Boston Dynamics (founded in 1992 as a spin-off of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and currently owned by the Hyundai Motor Group). One of the main features of Spot is Autowalk, a system that allows the robot to record and repeat routes. An operator takes the robot along the route using the remote control interface. The robot memorizes the route and can repeat when instructed to do so.
Autowalk can be used for inspection missions at industrial facilities, mines, factories and construction sites. In the first, they were able to use Spot to build a four-dimensional digital model of the campus, while in the second, they configured Spot to scan and record certain areas of the building. So, while Spot will continue to appear in YouTube videos with Atlas and other Boston Dynamics robots, his real job will be to wander around dark places that humans can't or won't go to. Boston Dynamics has also enhanced Spot's data collection and processing capabilities, including the ability to take images from the same angle during Autowalk cycles and process them using deep learning models running on the device or in the cloud.
Spot combines aspects of both types of mechanization and digitization, pointing towards the inevitable direction of the rapidly evolving construction industry. Raibert tells us that, until now, wildspots have generally been able to do what commercial operators want them to do, quickly integrating into existing workflows without requiring a great deal of robotics knowledge or the time, effort and stress and failure that you usually get when you try fit research platform into a commercial application. Given the high costs of IoT instrumentation and the risks of sending human inspectors to hazardous industrial environments, Spot could be worth its incredible price. In other words, Spot would look at a flight of stairs and only see a hill that has ledges and walls at different heights.
Processing can be done in three different modes, including edge processing, where all inferences and models run in Spot on an integrated GPU. While Spot is a fairly popular robot, there are other competitors presented in recent years who have been trying to move the spotlight away from Spot and towards themselves. Spot has been used during NASA's jet propulsion laboratory to explore Martian caves; energy giant National Grid is using Spot to keep its employees safe and ensure uptime at a critical facility, and has conducted an inspection at the Kidd Creek mine to allow operators stay away from dangers. Raibert tells us that there are about 35 robots temporarily living at home with Boston Dynamics engineers to help people stay productive during the pandemic.
The evolution of Spot over the past two years has made it an optimal choice for environments where the environment is too dangerous to send human operators and where Internet connectivity is spotty or not present and a robot is needed that can carry out tasks at a highly autonomous level. And the new update allows Boston Dynamics to expand Spot's value and possibly expand its market. Spot has been designed to facilitate the challenges of remote inspection when handling different terrain, slopes and obstacles. With the goal of providing Spot with the ability to understand the data it collects, Boston Dynamics launched an early adoption program.