Boston Dynamics Adds Capabilities to Spot Robot, Names Levatas as Certified Technology Partner

The Spot quadruped now includes advanced automation and inspection hardware and software.

Boston Dynamics

The Spot robot flashes warning lights while climbing stairs.
Boston Dynamics has partnered with Levatas to add visual inspection capabilities to Spot, and it has added safety functionality and hardware to the quadruped robot.

Boston Dynamics today announced that it has added improved inspection workflows, a new audiovisual system, and behavioral enhancements to its Spot robot. The company has also entered a strategic partnership with Levatas, a leading provider of artificial intelligence, software, and systems for automating industrial inspections.

“Spot is at the forefront of the emerging mobile robotics market,” Boston Dynamics wrote in a blog post. “With more than 1,000 robots in over 35 countries, no other robot has been deployed more often to tackle some of industry’s toughest, most dangerous tasks.”

The Waltham, Mass.-based company has positioned Spot as an alternative to manual inspections. It said its partnership with Levatas is intended to help automate inspection tasks that are considered challenging, dangerous, or otherwise undesirable for humans, freeing up employees in the field to handle more valuable work.

Spot gets safety upgrades

Boston Dynamics said it is making tasks such as thermal monitoring, acoustic leak detection, and gauge reading easier with its automated inspection workflows. The Hyundai-owned company has also updated its Scout software to allow users to quickly plan and edit missions remotely and get better visibility into their worksites.

In addition, Boston Dynamics updated Spot's gaits so can can more safely traverse slippery surfaces. It has added lights, a buzzer, and a speaker to help the quadruped robot signal its intentions.

“We’ve also added a feature called moving object detection, which can be turned on anytime a Spot EAP 2 payload is attached,” said Boston Dynamics. “Using this payload’s lidar, the robot can detect moving objects such as people or forklifts. When the robot identifies a moving object in its path, it will signal, keep a safe distance, and exercise increased caution as it continues on its mission.”

A beta feature enables the Spot Arm to autonomously open doors during Autowalk missions. Boston Dynamics is offering a webinar on June 28 to discuss Spot as “The Missing Link in Your Digital Transformation.”

Levatas adds vision-based inspections

As part of the collaboration between Boston Dynamics and Levatas' collaboration, Spot's 3.3 software release will offer Levatas' industrial AI. The partners said it will be the first computer vision-based inspection capability available on the platform.

West Palm Beach, Fla.-based Levatas said it develops and delivers systems to enable robots, drones, remote sensors, and cameras to autonomously perform equipment monitoring, safety checks, and site-surveillance tasks in industrial environments. For the past three years, the company has worked with Boston Dynamics' sales and Spot development teams.

The teams helped enterprise customers identify suitable use cases, set up the software, and integrate the technology into their existing systems and workflows. Levitas said its new partnership designation reflects its ability to assist joint customers in scaling these offerings.

“We are incredibly proud to work alongside Boston Dynamics, whose Spot robot represents the most sophisticated and capable option available for navigating challenging environments to automate inspections,” said Chris Nielsen, founder and CEO of Levatas, in a press release. “Pairing Spot’s incredible mobility with our Cognitive Inspection Platform gives customers the ability to automate inspection programs at an incredible scale.”

Boston Dynamics customers initially have access to an inspection model designed to detect and read analog gauges. Additional tools, available through Levatas’ Cognitive Inspection Platform, provide the ability to autonomously detect unauthorized people and send alerts, identify various forms of corrosion, notify employees of unsafe conditions such as liquid spills, and detect unexpected changes to an environment.

“Our collaboration with Levatas has been instrumental in bringing advanced automation and inspection capabilities to our customers,” said Renee Burns, vice president of partnerships at Boston Dynamics. “Their capabilities align with ours, and their experience and track record help our joint customers drive the value and impact they are looking for with robotic automation.”

Levatas and Boston Dynamics said their combined solution is already benefitting industries such as manufacturing, electric utilities, oil and gas, and petrochemicals. Prominent customers include Anheuser-Busch InBev, Avangrid, BMW, and Global Foundries.

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Boston Dynamics

The Spot robot flashes warning lights while climbing stairs.

Robot Technologies