Unitree's four-legged robot is surprisingly affordable

Robots tend to fall into a few different classes. Some robots are inexpensive toys aimed at enthusiasts, and others are extremely expensive products aimed at emergency services, the military, and researchers. The "real" robots aimed at professional and scientific use tend to be extremely expensive. For example, Boston Dynamics has a four-legged robot called Spot that costs about $74,000.

A Chinese company called Unitree Robotics has a very similar robot that was much more affordable that launched in 2020, though it was still quite expensive at $10,000 called the A1. Unitree is back this year with another robot called the G01, a smaller quadruped available for $2700. The robot has some interesting technology integrated into it with the ability to follow a human and avoid obstacles autonomously.

It looks very much like a headless robotic dog that can trot along behind the user. There are three versions of the robot, including the G01 Air base model at $2700, the G01 at $3500, and the G01 Edu at $8500. The $3500 model is expected to be the most popular unit, promising 50 percent more battery life than the base version and a speed of up to 3.5 m/s.

The Edu model has improved computing, seven kilograms of total payload capacity (compared to five kilograms for the other models), foot-force sensors, lidar, and hardware extension capabilities, as well as API access. Unitree is rather mysterious about some of the hard specifications for the robots it's offering. Specifically, there is no indication of how long the robot will operate on a charge.

While the company is not exactly clear, there is some indication that the G01 can travel three kilometers per charge and operate during a 20-minute jog while carrying occasional payloads. There are also no exact details on what the company calls its Super Sensory System or exactly how the tracking and obstacle avoidance tech works.