Just two years ago Boston Dynamics proudly showed off a new generation of its Atlas robot that could take an untethered stroll through the woods, before advancing to balancing on one leg and even landing a backflip.
Its latest highlight reel, however, is one that should make this guy very, very afraid. Dubbed “Parkour,” it features a bipedal battery-powered robot that not only jogs, but hops over obstacles and up an uneven obstacle course with nary a bobble. The ‘bot now has enough processing power to use its legs, arms and torso to balance through the movements and power up each 40cm-high step, while using computer vision to locate the next one.
Sure, the advertisement is that such a robot could navigate through disasters to rescue squishy humans stuck in precarious situations, but we can certainly imagine alternative applications. Japan’s Softbank bought Boston Dynamics and its robots from Alphabet a little over a year ago, and likely has aspirations for the technology that reach far beyond hit YouTube videos.
Source: Boston Dynamics