First they brought us the eerie BigDog, a robotic pack mule with an uncanny ability to stay upright even when slipping on ice. Now, Google-owned Boston Dynamics has revealed the latest addition to their growing robot family.
This next generation of Atlas robots is smaller than its predecessor, which only last month we saw tidying a room and hoovering, albeit in a slightly clunky manner. But as the video below demonstrates, this newest version seems leaps and bounds ahead of its older model. In the video, the robot is shown picking up boxes, stacking shelves, and wandering around an uneven, wintery forest completely untethered.
But it is probably the parts where a Boston Dynamics employee challenges the robot first with a hockey stick, and then a large tube, that are the most interesting. When bending down to pick up a box, the human knocks it out of the robot's arms, before shoving the machine backwards. It stumbles slightly, before regaining balance and continuing its pursuit of the box.
Then the robot deals with a sneak attack where it is pushed so hard from the back that it falls on its front. Within no time at all, the Atlas robot is back on its feet, and apparently heading for the door where it makes its escape. Presumably, these are a show of the machine's hardiness and ability to cope with a range of challenges.
The new robot weighs in at 80 kilograms (176 pounds) and stands 1.75 meters (5 feet 9 inches) tall. This latest iteration in the Atlas series not only boasts its own internal power source, but has new sensors in its body and legs, as well as LIDAR and stereo sensors that aid in the avoidance of objects in its way. Watch all of the glorious, and terrifying, action below: