Skip to main content

Watch Atlas the robot go for a walk in the woods

Google's Atlas robot has taken a walk through the woods, and there is a video to prove it.

If you don't remember Atlas, it's a Boston Dynamics bipedal humanoid robot funded by the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Boston Dynamics is an engineering and robotics design company known for making robots, and it was purchased by Google back in 2013.

We've seen videos of Atlas before, but it was always in a closed facility. This is the first time the robot has gone outside for a walk.

While handlers are holding the robot's power tether in the video, Raibert said Boston Dynamics is working with an upgraded version of Atlas that doesn't require a tether.

"We're making pretty good progress so it has mobility that's sort of within shooting range of yours," Raibert said in the video, adding that his goal is to build robots that can match or surpass human functionality.

Atlas is based on Boston Dynamics' earlier PETMAN humanoid robot, and has four hydraulically-actuated limbs. Constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum and titanium, it stands approximately 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and weighs 330 pounds (150 kg), and is illuminated with blue LEDs. Atlas is equipped with two vision systems – a laser rangefinder and stereo cameras, both controlled by an onboard computer – and has hands with fine motor skill capabilities.

Its limbs possess a total of 28 degrees of freedom. The robot is intended to aid emergency services in search and rescue operations, performing tasks such as shutting off valves, opening doors and operating powered equipment in environments where humans could not survive.