Spot’s not the only game in town anymore.
As far as the relatively young field of quadrupedal robots goes, the big name in town is Boston Dynamics’ Spot. After a successful commercial launch last year, Spot has been put to work as a surveying tool for dangerous terrain, as an aid for doctors practicing remotely, and even as a law enforcement aid. Of course, since Spot’s the only name on the quadrupedal board, it’s not like people interested in the tech have anywhere else to turn. At least, until now.
Earlier this week, Chinese tech company Xiaomi unveiled a quadrupedal robot of their own, aptly named “CyberDog.” CyberDog bears several obvious similarities to Spot, at least on the surface level, but according to Xiaomi’s press conference, the interesting stuff is going on within. CyberDog’s design is intended to be completely open-source, allowing for physical and mechanical customization by robotics and engineering enthusiasts. It also has the ability to recognize voice commands and follow its user, though while Xiaomi described these features as “pet-like,” they don’t seem to be intending CyberDog to be an actual pet.
“CyberDog can analyze its surroundings in real-time, create navigational maps, plot its destination, and avoid obstacles. Coupled with human posture and face recognition tracking, CyberDog is capable of following its owner and darting around obstructions,” says Xiaomi.
— Daniel D (@Daniel_in_HD) August 10, 2021
The initial release of the CyberDog units, currently unscheduled, will only accommodate 1,000 buyers. Those first 1,000 buyers, however, will be able to snag a unit for an absolute bargain. The first wave of CyberDog units will only cost 9,999 Yuan, which equates to about $1,540 USD, and massive mark down compared to Spot’s $74,500 price tag, though it’s likely that this will only be an introductory price.