The Creepy Robot Dog Botched a Test Run With a Bomb Squad

Emails reveal how Boston Dynamics’ Spot fell down on the job during a trial with the Massachusetts State Police.

Michael Hayes


Photo: SOPA Images/Getty Images

Spot, Boston Dynamics’ robot dog, is still trying to work out some kinks, according to emails and reports reviewed by OneZero.

The documents, which were obtained through a public records request, outline the agreement between Boston Dynamics and the Massachusetts State Police’s bomb squad, which borrowed Spot for a 90-day trial that ran between August and November 2019. The lease contract was previously reported by local public radio station WBUR.

But OneZero also obtained 28 pages of emails in which the police and the company discuss Spot’s performance during a threat, as well as the robot’s difficulties walking on stairs and hills without experiencing technical issues or toppling over.

When they turned Spot on, the robot went into “sit” mode, and they couldn’t get it to walk toward the target.

The messages detail Spot’s performance in at least one bomb investigation with the state troopers.