Boston Dynamics’ New Atlas: Agile as Elite Athletes

On April 17, a day after Boston Dynamics announced the retirement of its hydraulic Atlas robot, they unveiled a brand-new, all-electric version of Atlas. In a 39-second video released on YouTube, the robotic company stated that it was time for the retired Atlas to “take a break” and for the new all-electric Atlas to take over.

Founded in 1992, Boston Dynamics has always been at the forefront of the robotics industry. The founder of Boston Dynamics, Marc Raibert, known as the “father of robotic dogs,” has been a prominent figure in the industry. Despite changing ownership several times and currently being held by Hyundai Motor Group, Boston Dynamics continues to set the benchmark in terms of technological prowess.

In the video, the new Atlas demonstrates a high level of agility. Initially lying on the ground, the new version of Atlas adjusts the rotation at its leg joints and then leaps up almost like a gymnast.

Similar to Tesla’s Optimus and other bipedal robots, the new Atlas features longer limbs, a straighter back, and a distinctive “head” that can rotate as needed. There are no visible cables in sight, and its “face” includes a built-in ring light. It has seen significant improvements over its predecessor, now equipped with a range of Boston Dynamics’ new artificial intelligence and machine learning tools.

Boston Dynamics aims for the new version to prove that Atlas can maintain a humanoid form while not being limited by “the locomotion style of bipedal robots.” The redesigned version comes with rotating joints, claiming to give it a “unique capability to handle dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks.”

“We’ve designed the electric version of Atlas to be more powerful, more nimble, more agile,” the company stated. “While Atlas may have a human-like appearance, we are making the robot move in the most effective way to carry out tasks, free from the restrictions of human range of motion. Atlas will advance in ways that surpass human capabilities.”

The company also mentioned that they will continue to build on the functionalities already achieved by the previous hydraulic Atlas model, such as lifting and manipulating objects, while also exploring “several new gripper variants” to prepare the robot for a variety of different industry environments.

CEO Robert Playter stated that the new Atlas is more agile on most joints than a human, even surpassing elite athletes, with a range of motion that exceeds what a person can do. The outdated hydraulic system of the old Atlas has been replaced with electric actuators.

Furthermore, Playter revealed that the project is still in its early stages. Their current plan is to begin pilot testing of the electric Atlas in early 2025 at Hyundai’s facilities. The new Atlas will undergo testing with a small group of customers over the next few years, including Hyundai. Meanwhile, competitors and suppliers (like Figure and Apptronik) are also testing other humanoid robots on the production lines of BMW and Mercedes.

Source: Written by Hu Gengshuo, a journalist from Nandu Press.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.