Boston Dynamics

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Boston Dynamics

legal form Incorporation
founding 1992
Seat Waltham , Massachusetts
management Marc Raibert,
Andy Rubin
Branch Robotics

Boston Dynamics is a robotics - companies based in Waltham (Massachusetts) that especially in the field of autonomous mobile robot research and development, at the beginning of the American US military . It is considered to be one of the most advanced robotics companies in the world.


Boston Dynamics was founded in 1992 as a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by Marc Raibert , who is considered the father of walking robots in the United States. Originally, simulation software was also developed in addition to robotics systems. The company has earned an international reputation for its walking robots, including the development of the dog-like walking robot BigDog from 2005 or from 2012 with its cheetah-like walking robot Cheetah , which sets itself apart from previous models thanks to its balanced and very fast gait. DARPA has already examined such concepts under the name Mobility Environmental Research Study.

In April 2012, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced that Boston Dynamics would be the only provider to supply the robotic systems for the next DARPA Robotics Challenge . With a contract worth $ 10.8 million, Boston Dynamics is set to supply a series of humanoid robots called Atlas for the two-year competition with $ 2 million in prize money. The aim of the competition is to create autonomous robots to work in natural disasters and catastrophes such as the Fukushima nuclear disaster .

The Autonomous Robotic Manipulation ( ARM ) project , in which autonomous robotic systems ( military robots ) are to be developed in order to relieve people, for example in defusing bombs, clearing mines, rescuing the wounded and servicing, belongs to the field of military research and development Weapon systems. Armed systems are also conceivable.

Boston Dynamics was acquired by Google in late 2013 .

Shortly before this takeover, DI-Guy , software for simulating crowds for military tactical planning, was taken over by the Boston-based company VT MÄK , which specializes in simulation software.

According to media reports, Alphabet Inc. (formerly Google) planned to sell Boston Dynamics to Toyota in 2016 because no products were expected to be marketable for Alphabet.

On June 9, 2017, the sale of Boston Dynamics to the Japanese telecommunications and media company Softbank was announced.


Atlas (2013)
  • PETMAN ( Protection Ensemble Test Mannequin ), a humanoid robot for testing e.g. B. of protective suits
  • Atlas , a humanoid robot (further development of PETMAN )
  • BigDog , a four-legged canine-like walking robot
  • SandFlea , a four-wheeled, jumpable (up to 8 m) small robot
  • RHex , a six-legged all-terrain small robot
  • RiSE , a six-legged climbing robot
  • LittleDog , a four-legged small robot
  • Spot , a four-legged walking robot with an electric drive, in contrast to earlier dog-like walking robots (e.g. BigDog ) that use internal combustion engines
  • SpotMini, a smaller, lighter and quieter version of the Spot, also with an electric drive.

Legged Squad Support System

Prototype of the Legged Squad Support System

The LS 3 ( Legged Squad Support System ) (also called Alpha Dog and written AlphaDog ) is the successor to the four-legged robot BigDog . The Legged Squad Support System was planned to be operational in 2012.

Planned improvements are that the machine can be used more militarily due to its higher stability. This also includes the ability to traverse bodies of water and to cope with hot, cold, dry and dirty environments. In contrast to the previous model, the volume of the drive is to be reduced from around 95 to 70 decibels in normal mode and 40 decibels in a second, quieter mode. The previous payload of around 150 kilograms is to be increased to a possible payload of around 180 kilograms.


Cheetah was first released in 2012. It is another four-legged, cat-like walking robot whose musculoskeletal system was modeled on a cheetah and whose development focuses on a fast running speed. Currently (as of December 2013) the machine reaches a top speed of over 46  kilometers per hour (29  mph ) and already in 2012 (at 29 km / h) it reached a new peak value for running machines, which normal sports people could no longer escape. For comparison: the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt reached a top speed of almost 45 kilometers per hour over a distance of 100 meters in 2009.


Wildcat (2012) is intended for use in different terrain. Two different gaits are considered special: galloping and rabbit-like hobbling. The machine reaches a top speed of almost 26 kilometers per hour on a flat stretch. An internal combustion engine serves as the energy supply.


Handle (2016) has two arms and, as a novelty, two legs that run on wheels. The arms are used to balance and lift loads of up to 45 kilograms. Handle is two meters tall and can roll at more than 15 kilometers per hour. He can also walk on rough surfaces. He can negotiate stairs rolling downwards. He can jump more than four feet high. Its batteries allow a range of around 25 kilometers. Because of the wheels, it has fewer degrees of freedom than a humanoid robot with movable feet, but it is significantly more cost-effective to manufacture.

Web links

Commons : Boston Dynamics  - collection of images, videos, and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Legal form on
  2. ^ Samuel Gibbs: What is Boston Dynamics and why does Google want robots? The Guardian , December 17, 2013, accessed December 18, 2013 .
  3. ^ About Boston Dynamics. In: Retrieved December 13, 2013 .
  4. ^ A b c John Markoff : Google Adds to Its Menagerie of Robots. The New York Times , December 14, 2013, accessed December 18, 2013 .
  5. Google buys robot armourers. L'essentiel, December 17, 2013, archived from the original on December 19, 2013 ; Retrieved December 18, 2013 .
  6. ^ Richard J. Barber Associates: The Advanced Research Projects Agency, 1958-1974. VI-41. In: Defense Technical Information Center. December 1975, p. 358 f. , accessed on May 16, 2020 (English): "the Agency also investigated various advanced vehicle concepts including work on a project variously known as a" mechanical elephant "or" mechanical horse "which was to move through servo-mechanism" legs ""
  7. ^ Sole Source Intent Notice for Humanoid Robot Systems for the DARPA Robotics Challenge Program. In: Retrieved December 13, 2013 .
  8. ^ The Role of Autonomy in DoD Systems. (PDF) Department of Defense, December 19, 2012, accessed December 18, 2013 .
  9. Andreas Donath: Boston Dynamics: Google is buying military robot manufacturers at the end of the year. , December 14, 2013, accessed December 16, 2013 .
  10. ^ Boston Dynamics. Google is buying robot developers. Handelsblatt , December 16, 2013, accessed on December 18, 2013 .
  11. ^ Google buys robot firm Boston Dynamics. The Guardian , December 17, 2013, accessed December 18, 2013 .
  12. Benedikt Fuest: Google buys US manufacturer of dog robots. Die Welt , December 14, 2013, accessed December 18, 2013 .
  13. Lori Ponoroff: DI-Guy Now Part of VT MÄK. In: December 11, 2013, accessed December 13, 2013 .
  14. dpa / (mho): Boston Dynamics: Google is probably putting robot developers up for sale. In: Heise online . March 17, 2016, accessed April 11, 2016 .
  16. Axel Kannenberg (axk): Spot: Boston Dynamics shows new walking robot. Heise online , February 10, 2015, accessed on February 11, 2015 .
  17. a b c Mandelbaum, Robert: Legged Squad Support System, Industry Day . DARPA . October 2008. Archived from the original on January 17, 2009. Retrieved on December 15, 2010.
  18. Schactman, Noah: Darpa Preps Son of Robotic Mule , Wired. October 29, 2008. Archived from the original on April 4, 2009. Retrieved on December 15, 2010. 
  19. Boston Dynamics ( Memento from February 9, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) (English) - Page at Boston Dynamics . Retrieved December 15, 2013
  20. DARPA Cheetah: The fastest four-legged robot in the world ( Memento from December 15, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) - Reported to Gizmodo , March 6, 2012. Retrieved on December 15, 2012.
  21. Boston Dynamics: Wildcat hops and gallops - Report on , October 7, 2013. Accessed December 15, 2013.
  22. Werner Pluta: Boston Dynamics builds rolling robots. In: . February 18, 2017, accessed March 1, 2017 .
  23. Martin Holland (mho): Boston Dynamics: Rolling robot "Handle" jumps over obstacles. In: Heise online . February 18, 2017, accessed March 1, 2017 .
  24. Carsten Knobloch: Boston Dynamics: “Handle” robot should get a skateboard. In: Caschy's blog . Retrieved March 1, 2017 .
  25. Introducing Handle on YouTube