A short while ago Boston Dynamics released a video featuring the newest iteration of their ATLAS robot which sports very significant upgrades – to say the least – over the previous generation. Its most impressive feature is the fact that it can maintain its balance over virtually any type of terrain even when pushed or kicked, and it is also able to lift itself up unassisted in case of a fall or otherwise. The robot can operate in fully untethered fashion, and it can also accomplish certain tasks such as opening doors or maneuvering larger objects.
The new ATLAS robot is much more compact, lightweight and robust compared to the first version introduced in last year’s DARPA Robotics Challenge. The robot tips the scale at 82 kg or 180 lbs, which represents a little over half of what the previous edition weighted, and is also 15 cm shorter at 1.75 meters (5’9″).
ATLAS employs an electrical power source and a hydraulic system for actuation. Few other details such as autonomy, battery capacity or processing power have been revealed.
The robot is packed with internal sensors placed in its body and legs allowing for what seems to be unparalleled balance and pose control. For navigation and obstacle detection the robot is equipped with LIDAR and stereo sensors placed in the area which should be its head.