Boston Dynamics has been looking for ways to put its robots to work, but it turns out they’ve already seen some service. Radio station WBUR and the ACLU have learned that the Massachusetts State Police bomb squad leased Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot between August and November. While the document didn’t elaborate on the role the bot would serve, a spokesperson said it was used as a “mobile remote observation device” to keep watch over suspicious devices and dangerous locations.
The machine saw use in two real-world incidents in addition to training, the police said. It’s not clear how autonomous Spot was, but the police said they didn’t customize the robot canine’s software or weaponize it. Company chief Marc Raibert showed the Massachusetts State Police using Spot at TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics in April (see below), although it wasn’t mentioned that police intended to lease the hardware.