Boston Dynamics' robots often cause those concerned about a Terminator-style future to sweat slightly. But despite several new iterations of its Atlas robot over the years, the machine still stumbled around like it had knocked back one too many vodka shots. Now, however, it’s doing parkour and backflips.
In the latest video from the company, we see Atlas jumping and spinning its way across some blocks before performing a move most humans struggle with: a backflip. The agile machine mustn’t have landed it the first time, though; the outtake at the end shows Atlas tumbling headfirst into a box after hitting the ground.
What’s also impressive is that Atlas no longer rolls around like a turtle on its back when it falls over. The 6-foot 9-inch, 167-pound humanoid robot can now get up off the floor if it tips over.
Boston Dynamics said this new version of Atlas, which is electrically powered and hydraulically actuated, is designed to operate outdoors and inside buildings, meaning it could be utilized in scenarios that are dangerous for humans.
Following year-long rumors that Google parent Alphabet was looking to sell the company, Japanese telecoms giant Softbank, which also bought ARM in 2016 and owns a large stake in Nvidia, acquired the robotics firm for an undisclosed sum back in June.
The new Atlas robot isn’t the only Boston Dynamics robot to get an upgrade. The company revealed a new version of the SpotMini a few days ago.
Earlier this year, we got a look at Handle, a robot so freaky that Boston Dynamics itself described it as “nightmare inducing.”