Skip to Content
Artificial intelligence

Boston Dynamics’ dog robot Spot is going to patrol an oil rig in Norway

February 13, 2020
Spot mini robot on an oil rig
Spot mini robot on an oil rig
Spot mini robot on an oil rigAker BP

The news: Spot, a four-legged robot made by Boston Dynamics, has one of its first real-world assignments: oil and gas firm Aker BP will start using it to patrol a rig in the Skarv field in the Norwegian Sea this year. The hope is that it will be able to autonomously inspect the rig and capture data on gas leaks and other issues, generating reports for anything that requires further investigation.

Risky business: It will also be tested on its ability to perform work deemed high-risk for humans, and will be hooked up to telepresence operators onshore. “We believe robotics will help us operate more safely and with lower cost and emissions in the near future,” a spokesman for Aker BP said.

Testing: Aker BP has an agreement with an AI software company called Cognite to work out which tasks it is best suited to, and then deploy it in the wild. They’ve already tested Spot in simulated environments.

Spot breaks out of the lab: Boston Dynamics has made Spot available for companies to hire since September 2019, and since then about 75 firms have rented one, according to Wired. One is also working with the Massachusetts State Police bomb squad, according to filings uncovered by the ACLU. 

Sign up here to our daily newsletter The Download to get your dose of the latest must-read news from the world of emerging tech. 

Deep Dive

Artificial intelligence

Yann LeCun
Yann LeCun

Yann LeCun has a bold new vision for the future of AI

One of the godfathers of deep learning pulls together old ideas to sketch out a fresh path for AI, but raises as many questions as he answers.

images created by Google Imagen
images created by Google Imagen

The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images

Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.

AGI is just chatter for now concept
AGI is just chatter for now concept

The hype around DeepMind’s new AI model misses what’s actually cool about it

Some worry that the chatter about these tools is doing the whole field a disservice.

AI and robotics concept
AI and robotics concept

AI’s progress isn’t the same as creating human intelligence in machines

Honorees from this year's 35 Innovators list are employing AI to find new molecules, fold proteins, and analyze massive amounts of medical data.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.