Larry Page's vision for future of robotics | Robert Playter and Lex Fridman | Summary and Q&A

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April 29, 2023
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Larry Page's vision for future of robotics | Robert Playter and Lex Fridman

TL;DR

Boston Dynamics transitioned from government-funded research to commercial robotics, focusing on high-quality, expensive machines for the industrial sector while aiming for consumer-level products in the future.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did Boston Dynamics decide to shift their focus to smaller electrically actuated robots like Spot?

Boston Dynamics anticipated a decline in government robotics investment and sold themselves to Google. They wanted to continue developing quadrupeds but knew it needed to be smaller and have electrically actuated actuators, leading to the creation of Spot.

Q: What was the difference in vision between Boston Dynamics and Google regarding developing consumer-level products?

While Larry Page at Google wanted consumer-level products, Boston Dynamics believed that building high-quality machines was essential to learn more about robot functionalities. They aimed to simplify and reduce costs gradually before venturing into consumer-level products.

Q: How is Boston Dynamics managing the transition from an R&D company to a commercial company?

Boston Dynamics has recruited engineers who are willing to work on quality, reliability, and cost challenges. They have fleets of robots operating 24/7 to ensure reliability, and the company is pleased with their progress in managing this transition.

Q: How does Boston Dynamics test the reliability of their robots?

Boston Dynamics has robots autonomously performing missions, collecting data and walking around their building. This process simulates what industrial settings require, ensuring that the robots operate reliably. They accumulate a significant amount of operation data each week.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Boston Dynamics initially built quadrupeds and humanoid robots under government funding but anticipated a decline in investment, leading them to sell to Google and shift their focus to developing smaller, electrically actuated robots like Spot.

  • Working with Larry Page at Google, they discussed the ideal product, with Page emphasizing consumer-level products, but Boston Dynamics believed it was crucial to continue building high-quality, albeit expensive, machines to learn more about robot functionalities.

  • The challenge lies in transitioning from an R&D company to a commercial entity, where engineers need to shift their focus to quality, reliability, and cost. However, the company is successfully managing this transition and making remarkable progress.

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