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Trends in Robotics
A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, and we’ve taken a lot of steps in the last 30 years at Boston Dynamics. 2023 in particular was the year of millions! Let’s take a look at what we accomplished last year!
Stretch, our case handling robot, began operational deployments in January. Customers like DHL and Gap automated trailer unloading, supporting warehouse associates and improving inbound efficiency. By August, Stretch had moved a combined 1 million boxes for these and other customers.
Building on customer feedback and our own R&D, we continued to innovate and improve Stretch’s capabilities. In October, we introduced multipick—enabling Stretch to move multiple boxes in a single swing of the arm—along with other new features to deliver higher productivity, reliability, and robustness.
These new features had a tangible impact for customers like Maersk and H&M—by year end, we had already doubled our previous milestone, achieving an incredible 2 million boxes moved among all customers!
We also added new capabilities to Spot, our agile mobile robot. With hardware and software upgrades in June, Spot continued to set the standard for industrial inspection and made automating visual, thermal, and acoustic inspections even easier.
Our customers automated more than 1 million data captures with Spot in 2023. Customers like Purina and National Grid relied on this data to inform their predictive maintenance and digital transformation—for example, Purina already has expanded its initial deployment and is planning to add a Spot at every one of its 20 plus North American sites.
Additionally, customers like OPG and Meta AI explored mobile manipulation applications that pushed the bounds of what’s possible with robotics today. Taking advantage of Spot’s arm and robust API, our innovative customers are able to develop new applications to keep people safe, interact with the world, and integrate robotics into more types of environments. We used the same capabilities for our own R&D with a hackathon that explored how embodied AI and foundational models can shape human-robot interaction.
At Boston Dynamics HQ, we started the year off with a hands-on demo of Atlas, the world’s most advanced humanoid robot, giving millions a view into our latest mobile manipulation capabilities. Later in the year, Atlas went head-to-head in a friendly competition with Cleo Abram, as she explored the world cutting edge robotics.
In 2023, we made waves around the world, from walking fashion shows in Paris to supporting nuclear clean up in Fukushima. We added more international customers, including the Otto Group, who will be deploying both Spot and Stretch fleets over the coming years. To meet this demand, we opened our first European office in September; and we expanded our team across the board to keep providing world-class service, support, and engineering for all our customers.
Beyond our own customer base, we are committed to building a future where robotics of all kinds are commonplace in our work and lives. Right here at home, we supported a first of its kind bill in Massachusetts to ensure the safe, ethical use of robotics. Our CEO, Robert Playter, has also stepped up as an industry advocate to combat misconceptions about robots and build trust in this emerging technology.
Together, we are creating robots that enable efficiency, spark further innovation, and keep people out of harm’s way. We are looking forward to accomplishing even more in 2024 and helping our customers deliver even more value with their fleets.
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