The fuzzy real dog in this picture is said to be the pet that belongs to Andy Rubin, the same Rubin that is co-founder of Android and used to work for Google. When he left Android, he managed the robotics program at Google for a bit and now Rubin is working at Playground, a hardware incubator. Rubin and his Playground were able to get their hands on one of the smaller Boston Dynamics robots known as Spot.
Word is that this is the only Spot robot that is in civilian hands. Spot looks like it’s alive when it prances around the area taunting the dog. It’s not an autonomous machine; it’s being controlled by a human off camera somewhere. The real dog barks at Spot as the bot creepily walks unfazed by the terrain.
I bet the real dog is mad because Spot the robot has no butt for him to sniff as a way of introduction. Rubin and his crew might be having fun playing with Spot the robot, but it sounds like the military may be done with Spot and his cousin dubbed LS3. According to Captain James Pineiro, the head of the Ground Combat Element branch at the Warfighting Lab spot and LS3 are both in storage with no future experiments or upgrades planned.
Pineiro says that he sees Spot as a ground reconnaissance asset, but the bot lacks the autonomy to perform that role since it is controller driven at this time. Pineiro says that it would take interest from top Marine Corps commanders to resurrect the program. Both videos of the Spot robot below were posted by a man called Steve Jurvetson, a partner in a venture capital firm called DFJ.
Update: Turns out the pooch is actually called Cosmo and he allows Andy Rubin to use his office.