Google Takes Humanoid Robot ATLAS for a Walk in the Woods

With all the talk surrounding artificial intelligence, people often forget that it will likely be much easier to create a robot with human-like intelligence than a human-like body. But Google-owned and DARPA-funded robotics company Boston Dynamics is propelling us a little bit closer to that goal, as they just tested their state-of-the-art bipedal humanoid robot out in the wild for the first time.

While Boston Dynamics has tested its quadruped robots outside before, it is much more difficult to build viable bipedal robots that can maintain their balance. Like humans, they have a much higher center of gravity, and are much more likely to lose their balance while trying to navigate obstacles that are found in outdoor terrain.

Boston Dynamics Atlas In The Woods

Opening quote
“Out in the world is just a totally different challenge than in the lab,” Marc Raibert, founder of Boston Dynamics, said at the Fab Lab Conference and Symposium (via Venture Beat). “You can’t predict what it’s going to be like.”

Closing quote

Boston Dynamics Atlas In The Woods

ATLAS is still learning to walk on its own, so it walks hesitantly and falters a little, like a young child. And like a child with training wheels, it still needs its power cord continually attached while it walks outside, so it needs to be under constant supervision. 

Boston Dynamics Atlas In The Woods Walking

But still, ATLAS was able to navigate a rugged hiking trail without falling down. This doesn’t sound like a huge step forward, but it is, especially considering that maintaining balance was arguably the biggest challenge for even the most advanced robots in the DARPA robotics challenge this year:

Source: Google Takes Humanoid Robot ATLAS for a Walk in the Woods

Via: Google Alerts for AI