Atlas is possibly the most human-like robot yet.
Boston Dynamics, a subsidiary of Google, unveiled the latest version of its Atlas robot, which shows that the bi-pedal, humanoid like robot is rapidly advancing and close to reaching the kind of fully autonomous android capabilities only dreamed of in sci-fi films.
According to Boston Dynamics, the electrically powered robot is designed to operate outdoors and inside buildings, and its movements are controlled by hydraulics. It uses sensors in its body and legs to balance and LIDAR (a laser sensory system) and stereo sensors in its head to avoid obstacles, assess the terrain, help with navigation and manipulate objects. This version of Atlas is about 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 180 pounds.
The humanoid robot clearly is poised for a variety of possible uses from basic manual labor to possibly even military applications with its ability to navigate rough terrain and recover from falls and impacts — Boston Dynamics has worked with U.S. Department of Defense and the military to develop some of its robots.
The new version of Atlas has some clear advantages over predecessors. It now has an internal power source rather than an external one connected via tether ,and the robot has an eerily human-like ability to pop itself up from the ground and stand on its own.
The robot is not just groundbreaking for robotics, but may also usher in a new era in society by eliminating huge swaths of everyday mundane tasks and jobs. Jason Calacanis, a digital entrepreneur and investor in several successful startups including as an early investor in Uber, told CNBC that Atlas will be the end of manual labor in our lifetime.
"It's super eerie. In 10 years, the idea is going to be 'would you let this [robot] put your kids to bed? Would you let it change your kid's diaper?'”Calacanis said. "That's how fast this is going to advance. It's picking up packages right now. These things are going to be walking down the street 10 to 15 years from now, delivering pizzas; they're going to be in your office moving packages around."
You can see a wide range of Atlas’ capabilities in the full video released by Boston Dynamics:
H/t: The Huffington Post