You know the name Boston Dynamics for its robot Spot, and many other robots like it that sit well within the uncanny valley. The now Hyundai subsidiary has signed a deal with logistics company DHL for a far more mundane robot. It’s called Stretch, and it’s a robot designed to unload trucks.
In a sense, you can probably consider it an autonomous forklift, if you discount the fact that Stretch doesn’t actually have the moving prongs. Instead of those, the robot has a robotic arm with various degrees of movement.
At the business end of the arm is a suction base that can pick up items weighing up to 23kg. It even has an internal battery that gives it eight hours of use, just short of the number of hours people are expected to work in a day.
As you’d expect from a Boston Dynamics robot, Stretch comes with the company’s computer vision tech. This allows it to identify things it needs to move around, as well as navigate the warehouse, autonomously. But it probably shouldn’t be considered a new robot, exactly. After all, the company has been prototyping it for about a year, since March of 2021.
TechRadar reports that DHL has signed a US$15 million (~RM63 million) deal to have these robots be delivered to its warehouses in the US. Boston Dymanics CEO Robert Playter says that these robots will “further automate warehousing and improve safety”.