Controlling the Robot with an Xbox Controller

Xbox Controller example allows users to control a Spot robot through an Xbox controller. The example was tested with an Xbox 360 wired controller. The button mapping is:

Button Combination Functionality
A Walk
B Stand
X Sit
Y Stairs
LB + :
- D-pad up/down Walk height
- D-pad left Battery-Change Pose
- D-pad right Self right
- Y Jog
- A Amble
- B Crawl
- X Hop
If Stand Mode
- Left Stick
-- X Rotate body in roll axis
-- Y Control height
- Right Stick
-- X Turn body in yaw axis
-- Y Turn body in pitch axis
- Left Stick Move
- Right Stick Turn
LB + RB + B E-Stop
Start Motor power & Control
Back Exit

User Guide


For your best learning experience, please use the Quickstart Guide found in the SDK’s docs/python directory. That will help you get your Python programming environment setup properly.

OS-Specific Dependencies

This example has external dependencies to communicate with an XBox controller, and those dependencies are OS-specific.

Ubuntu: On Ubuntu 18.04, the example uses the xboxdrv driver to communicate with the controller, so please install the driver by executing:

sudo apt-get install xboxdrv

The xboxdrv driver supports only Xbox360 controllers. Newer controllers are not supported.

Windows: On Windows, the example uses XInput-Python package, which is automatically installed with the pip command below. The XInput package officially supports Xbox360 controllers, but newer controllers also work with this example on Windows.

MacOS: This example is not supported on MacOS.

Installation Instructions

To install this example on Ubuntu 18.04 and Windows, follow these instructions:

  • Create virtual environment as described in this Quickstart Guide virtualenv section

  • Install dependencies: python3 -m pip install -r requirements.txt

  • Run the example using instructions in the next section

  • To exit the virtual environment, run deactivate


This example follows the common pattern for expected arguments. It needs the common arguments used to configure the SDK and connect to a Spot:

  • hostname passed as the last argument

  • username and password should be set in the environment variables BOSDYN_CLIENT_USERNAME and BOSDYN_CLIENT_PASSWORD.

1) The example needs to be run as sudo. To run a python program as sudo within a virtual environment, you need to specify the python executable in the virtualenv folder.

To find the virtualenv python executable, activate the desired virtual environment and then run which python, which should return the python executable’s path.

Then run the example with the following: sudo <path/to/python/executable> ROBOT_IP

2) After the controller is connected, the example prints a status window:

E-Stop	Control	Motors On	Mode

3) Next, press the key combination Left Button + Right Button + B to turn E-Stop on:

E-Stop	Control	Motors On	Mode

4) Next, press the Guide button to acquire a lease with this Spot:

E-Stop	Control	Motors On	Mode
X       X

5) Next, press the Start button to turn the motors on:

E-Stop	Control	Motors On	Mode
X       X       X

6) Spot is now ready to be controlled.

7) To E-Stop Spot at any time, press the E-Stop button combination (LB + RB + B)

8) To exit and power off Spot, press the Back button.