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Boston Robotics

Boston Dynamics' Spot dog is learning some new behaviors that will help the robot adapt to the real world. The company has delivered a Release 3.0 update that helps Spot do its jobs without human intervention. Most notably, it can dynamically replan routes — the robot's inspection will go smoothly even if someone inadvertently left a forklift in the way.

The upgraded Spot can also handle human-free scheduled missions, and it's smart enough to automatically plan routes when you choose the actions you want to perform. The robot will help you notice when something's amiss, too. It uses scene recognition to capture photos at the same angle every time, and human inspectors can conduct live reviews of changes Spot notices with computer vision, such as gauge readings and heat changes.

These updates won't mean much if you don't have the $74,500-plus to spend on a Spot of your own. They do show how Boston Dynamics' signature canine is evolving, though, and illustrate just how robots like this can help in real life — they're increasingly useful for tasks where it would be impractical (or just a hassle) for humans to step in.

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