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Atlas robot pushed
A researcher gives the next-generation Atlas robot a good, hard push. (Credit: Boston Dynamics)

We already know that Boston Dynamics’ robots can run with the big dogs and go dashing through the snow. But can they pick up and put away 10-pound boxes? And can they pick themselves up after being pushed down by bullies?

Yes, they can. Heaven help us, they can.

A newly released video shows the company’s next-generation, two-legged Atlas robot keeping its balance while it walks through the woods on a rough, snowy trail. But things get really eerie when Atlas is put in a warehouse setting, where the robot picks up boxes and slides them onto shelves. It just keeps going, even when a bothersome human takes a hockey stick and slaps the box out of its arms.

When the human goes into full Terminator mode and pushes Atlas over, the machine pushes itself back on its knees, straightens up, and just walks out the door.

Boston Dynamics says Atlas 2.0 is designed to operate outdoors and inside buildings.

“It is electrically powered and hydraulically actuated. It uses sensors in its body and legs to balance, and LIDAR and stereo sensors in its head to avoid obstacles, assess the terrain and help with navigation,” the company says. “This version of Atlas is about 5′ 9” tall (about a head shorter than the DRC Atlas) and weighs 180 pounds.”

The new robo-video brought a lot of notice – including from SpaceX’s billionaire founder, Elon Musk, who’s already been worried about the rise of the machines. Let’s just hope these robots don’t figure out how to pick up a gun.

 

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