Robotics company Boston Dynamics is suing military robotics company Ghost Robotics over the design of Ghost’s robotic quadrupeds. The suit, according to Robot Report, claims that Ghost has infringed on seven different patents applicable to the Spot robot dog.
Specifically, Ghost’s Vision 60 and Spirit 40 units infringe on Boston’s technology, according to the suit. The infringed capabilities include how the robots navigate stairs and gait interruption, among other abilities.
Boston Dynamics sees a Ghost
Boston, when queried, replied with a boilerplate “We don’t comment on ongoing litigation” statement but its motivation for the suit is even less clear. The Hyundai-owned company is seeking damages, as well as interest calculated pre- and post-courtroom battle.
There might also be an element of altruism present. Boston Dynamics tends to be protective of Spot, in particular, how the robot is used. Recently a performance art group turned one of its canine drones into an internet-controlled weapon (using a paintball gun). Boston was rather upset with the usage.
It’s also a fact that Ghost Robotics is using a very similar design to facilitate weapons of war. That’s not the only use case. Some are being used as patrol units. But Ghost Robotics also makes and sells the SPUR, a special-purpose remote-controlled weapon capable of acting as a remote sniper. Add in FLIR thermal optics, a 1.2km range, and a ten-round magazine and you’ve got a very cool weapon. Terrifying, but undeniably cool. That might be why the military seems rather fond of the violent little quadruped.
Source: The Robot Report