Small business qualifier Boston Dynamics, Inc. in Waltham, MA has received a $10 million completion-type, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to build a dog-like robot with the capability to run fast, traverse trough terrain, jump over obstacles 1 meter (40″) tall or 2 meters wide, and operate for 2 hours without refueling. The goal of this effort is to create legged robots that mimic animal structure, mechanics and control, in order to achieve animal-like strength, speed and mobility. The priority application is a robot that could eventually accompany Marines and other troops in the field as a load-carrier across nearly any terrain. This 15-month contract also includes 3 one-year options which would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $40 million if exercised.
Sony’s AIBO electro-pet may be in CMU’s Robot Hall of Fame, but it doesn’t perform at this level. So, what is Boston Dynamics’ entry like – and how has it performed to date?