The advanced engineering company Boston Dynamics has released a stunning new video showing its Atlas robots doing parkour, including vaulting over objects and even performing backflips.
“Through jumps, balance beams, and vaults, we push Atlas to its limits to discover the next generation of mobility, perception, and athletic intelligence,” the company said.
Two 5-foot, 190-pound Atlas robots take on the parkour course, running across banked plywood panels, performing jumps, and running up stairs. Another robot does the course in reverse. Then both robots land synchronized backflips. One of the robots then flaunts its success by emoting the “dirt off your shoulders” expression.
As Boston Dynamics said in a blog post, this test didn’t go perfectly, as the other robot was supposed to perform a “cha-ching” celebration similar to an arm pump by a baseball pitcher. “The robot did pump its arm, but it also stumbled a bit on this simple move. It was just the slightest stutter step, something most people watching the video would never notice. But the Atlas team notices every detail and they want to get it right,” the company said.
Boston Dynamics, which was acquired by Hyundai earlier this year, is ultimately trying to create a robot who can work alongside humans. Atlas team lead Scott Kuindersma said the company believes this will happen in the next 20 years.
“I find it hard to imagine a world 20 years from now where there aren’t capable mobile robots that move with grace, reliability, and work alongside humans to enrich our lives,” Kuindersma said. “But we’re still in the early days of creating that future. I hope that demonstrations like this provide a small glimpse of what’s possible.”