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Boston Dynamics CEO Talks Profitability and the Company’s Next Robots

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat, written by Emil Protalinski: Founded in 1992, Boston Dynamics is arguably the best-known robot company around, in part because its demonstration videos tend to go viral. Now it is attempting to transform from an R&D company to a robotics business, with an eye on profitability for the first time. When we interviewed Boston Dynamics founder and former CEO Marc Raibert in November 2019, we discussed the company’s customers, potential applications, AI, simulation, and those viral videos. But it turns out Raibert was transitioning out of the CEO role at the time — current CEO Robert Playter told us in an interview this month that he took the helm in November. We sat down to discuss Playter’s first year as CEO; profitability; Spot, Pick, Handle, and Atlas; and the company’s broader roadmap, including which robots are next.
[…] In June, Boston Dynamics started selling its quadruped robot Spot in the U.S. for $74,500. Last week, the company expanded Spot sales to Canada, the EU, and the U.K. at the same price point. Playter says Boston Dynamics has sold or leased about 250 robots to date and business is accelerating. […] Compared to big manufacturing robotic companies, 250 robots is not a lot. But Playter points out it’s a big achievement “for a novel robot like Spot.” Other robotic startups would love to get that sort of market validation. “We’re penetrating, we’re establishing a market, and people are starting to see value. We’re adapting Spot to be a solution for some of the industries we’re targeting,” Playter said.

Spot’s success means the company is beating its own internal targets. “We are meeting — actually exceeding — some of our sales goals for Spot,” Playter said. “We had ambitious goals this year, but we met our Q1 goal. We’re meeting our Q2 goal. We have ambitious Q3 and Q4 goals. I think we’re probably going to meet or exceed them this year. To become profitable, these products do have to become successful. They have to scale. But right now, I think we’re beating plan.” The company now has a roadmap to profitability. “I think we’ll be profitable in about two and a half years,” Playter said. “2023-2024 is when I’m projecting that we are cash positive.” To hit that milestone, Boston Dynamics is simultaneously developing robots for logistics (think production, packaging, inventory, transportation, and warehousing)…


Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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