In Brief

Mail Dog: Robotic Dog 'Spot' Could Deliver Your Next Package

Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert, foreground, and Seth Davis put the oddly adorable SpotMini through its paces at TED2017. (Image credit: Bret Hartman/TED)

While some companies are researching how to use drones or autonomous vehicles to deliver goods to customers, one company has trained a robotic dog to do the job.

"Spot" is a four-legged, canine-like machine created by the Google-owned technology firm Boston Dynamics. The robot was first introduced in a 2015 video on YouTube, in which Spot can be seen running, climbing stairs and maintaining its balance even after it is pushed. Now, Spot can also deliver packages that are strapped to its back, Boston Dynamics founder and CEO Marc Raibert announced at this week's TED2017 conference, Wired UK reported.

"We've been taking our robot to employees' homes to see whether we could get in the various access ways," Raibert said during the talk, according to Wired. "We're doing very well, about 70 per cent of the way." [The 6 Strangest Robots Ever Created]

The robot dog also has a smaller sibling, called "SpotMini," which looks like a cross between a large dog and a small giraffe. SpotMini trotted onstage during the recent event and showcased its abilities, according to the TED blog.

SpotMini creates a map of the world around it, which allows the robot to navigate different obstacles with ease, Raibert said in the presentation. The bot traversed an obstacle course onstage and even delivered Raibert a soda, according to the TED blog.

Beyond delivery services, Boston Dynamics is testing other uses for these robots, including tasks on factory production lines, The Telegraph reported.

Spot and SpotMini are only two members of Boston Dynamics' robot portfolio. The company has also developed a humanoid robot named Atlas that can walk upright across uneven terrain, among others.

Original article on Live Science.

Kacey Deamer
Staff Writer
Kacey Deamer is a journalist for Live Science, covering planet earth and innovation. She has previously reported for Mother Jones, the Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press, Neon Tommy and more. After completing her undergraduate degree in journalism and environmental studies at Ithaca College, Kacey pursued her master's in Specialized Journalism: Climate Change at USC Annenberg. Follow Kacey on Twitter.