Stretch is a mobile box-moving robot, with a beefy arm and a large mobile base.
After 28 years of research and development, Boston Dynamics entered the commercial robot market last year with the launch of Spot. This is a ~$75,000 robotic dog that can march around facilities for remote inspections and, with an extra arm attachment, can even open doors and do remote manipulation.
Today, Boston Dynamics’ quest for commercialization continues with the announcement of a second commercial robot, “Stretch,” a box-moving bot designed to meet the demands of warehouses and distribution centers. The robot is designed to “go where the work is” in a warehouse, unloading trucks, de-palleting shipments, and eventually building orders. For now, we’re seeing a prototype, but Boston Dynamics hopes companies will start buying Stretch when it hits commercial deployment in 2022.
As Boston Dynamics VP of Product Engineering Kevin Blankespoor told us shortly before the launch of Stretch, the company is going to where the customers are. “When we released our first Atlas “Next-gen” video,” Blankespoor said, “there was a part of that video that showed Atlas moving boxes, and we got a big reaction from people in the warehouse space. They wanted Atlas to come work at their warehouse.” Atlas is the company’s do-everything humanoid research robot and is probably far too expensive to be a commercial product.