Mobile Virtual Player’s (MVP) $8,000 football robots cost a whole lot less than hiring a professional athlete, but MVP President and CEO Joe McLaughlin doesn’t see these robots replacing players anytime soon.
“When you run kickoffs, running 11 players down over and over again, it wears guys out,” McLaughlin said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.” The robots help “save wind, save legs. I don’t think it actually runs that many reps from the guys fighting for a spot.”
Founded in 2015, MVP created remote-controlled, self-righting dummies to teach players how to tackle. The robots simulate the size, weight and agility of a full-sized pro or college athlete, and help cut down on injuries by reducing player fatigue.
A variety of football teams, from the Detroit Lions to the Pittsburgh Steelers, have tested or purchased the dummies — and word is beginning spread. McLaughlin said he’s sold dummies to rugby and soccer teams, and fielded interest from basketball teams and even one hockey team, the Colorado Avalanche.
“They need some tweaks to make them work effectively on the ice,” McLaughlin said.
“Maybe some Air Jordans on their feet on the court rather than wheels. We have some work to do,” he joked.
MVP currently sells full-sized models for $8,295, but is developing a model for younger players for about half the price.