US robot maker Boston Dynamics has released new clips showing its robots can run and jump autonomously over obstacles. The two videos, released Thursday, demonstrate the progress that Atlas, a humanoid robot, and SpotMini, a dog-like robot, have made.
The first video uploaded to YouTube on Thursday, shows the yellow robot-dog running independently inside an office and a lab facility with total ease. It then walks down a set of wooden stairs without any issue. The company however said, that an operator had to guide the robot through the route so that it could map the course. But the video demonstrates that the advanced humanoid robot uses its cameras to avoid obstacles.
“Before the test, the robot is manually driven through the space, so it can build a map of the space using visual data from cameras mounted on the front, back and sides of the robot,” Boston Dynamics explained on its YouTube channel. “During the autonomous run, SpotMini uses data from the cameras to localize itself in the map and to detect and avoid obstacles. Once the operator presses 'GO' at the beginning of the video, the robot is on its own.”
The second video, “Getting Some Air, Atlas?," demonstrates how naturally the robot can move. The clip shows the robot running across a garden, pausing briefly and thereafter jumping over a wooden log before landing on its metal feet.
The new Atlas weighs 80kg and is 1.75 metres (5 feet 9 inches) tall.
Incidentally when Boston Dynamics demonstrated Atlas doing backflips last year, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk warned that it was just the beginning. "This is nothing," Musk tweeted. "In a few years, that bot will move so fast you’ll need a strobe light to see it. Sweet dreams…"
It appears Musk was right!
Video credits: Boston Dynamics via YouTube