ATLAS: Next Generation of DARPA Humanoid Robot Released

humanoid_robot_ATLASBy Nicholas West

The evolution of humanoid robots is happening at an ever-quickening pace. These advancements are occurring not only in their mechanics but also with the incorporation of artificial intelligence.

One of the humanoid robots that has garnered the most attention is ATLAS, developed for DARPA by Boston Dynamics. ATLAS has been through several incarnations since its inception in 2013 as part of the DARPA Robotics Challenge and, as you’ll see in the videos below, if a truly Terminator-like killer robot ever does come to fruition, ATLAS very well could be the one.

Although ATLAS was seen as an improvement from the U.S. Army’s version known as PETMAN, it began as a clunky and hulking 6′ 2″ 330-pound unstable creation that only could move indoors while connected to a tether. Nevertheless, it was equipped with sensors and an onboard computer system which set the framework for future models.

As you’ll see in the next video, ATLAS advanced quite a bit in the following months. At this point it still proceeds slowly on its tether, but it is moving with far better agility as it navigates obstacles with more fluidity, albeit still very slow. Notably, in this test, it is moving without an operator.

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The following video is from roughly one year later when ATLAS moves to the outdoors in forest terrain. Here we see a much better range of motion and balance with faster movement, though still tethered.

Now less than six months later, Boston Dynamics has released the following video that shows a completely redesigned ATLAS, which has lost 5 inches in height and 140 pounds in weight. This streamlined version is entirely self-powered and untethered. It begins by opening a door and walking outside onto snow-covered ground, and winds up fairing much better than some people would in the same conditions. It is also shown lifting and storing boxes, which might indicate its use as a possible warehouse robot, as the outsourcing of humans continues in that area. Lastly, it rights itself after being pushed to the ground. (One has to wonder if being pissed off will be an option that gets programmed into future intelligent versions.)

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It appears that all of the components are indeed coming together to bolster the warnings that have been issued by tech luminaries, scientists, universities, and even robot manufacturers themselves who all have urged a quick ethical framework to be established while we still remain in full control of this creation.

Also See: New Sophisticated Humanoid Robot Declares “I Will Destroy Humans” (videos)

Nicholas West writes for This article can be freely shared in part or in full with author attribution and source link.

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12 Comments on "ATLAS: Next Generation of DARPA Humanoid Robot Released"

  1. We need to take out these mf scientists and engineers.

    • But they’re having such fun! It’s all just a big science project, a contest. They harbor no burdensome ethical considerations about what their creations might do in the future, that’s “limiting thought” and there is no room for that kind of negative thinking in the world of robotics. It’s been this way from the beginning. They think, “If someone takes this robot and does something evil with it, that’s not my problem.” They have tons of justifications lined up when people ask pesky questions, otherwise no job, no pay check, no fun.

      • You are using words to communicate and relay your thoughts here. Words are one of the oldest forms of technology. Are words good or evil?

        Fire is another old technology. It can be used to clear forests to create arable land for farming. Fire can also keep shine bright even a candle flame in the dark. Is fire good or evil?

        Any form of technology, knowledge is neutral. Guns do not kill people. Guns are tools which can be used to hunt food, defend against oppression. Guns are a technology or an extension off technology and are neutral. Guns are not good or evil.

        Are you good or evil? I think you are neutral as well. You have the potentiality of choice. Your choices may be unethical, immoral, faulty and you may act in inappropriate manners. That does not make you evil.

        Evil is not realizing the fallacy inherent in presenting only two choices. It’s good or evil, is two choices only. Evil is is stupidly accepting all that ‘authority’ pronounces for you without question or at least a desire to understand. Evil is the myth of scarcity which allows for starvation of people.

        • Nice lecture. Fact is, we currently live on a duality planet. We can maintain a neutral position whenever and wherever we wish, but unfortunately everyone else around us is also playing the duality game. The teeniest bit of forethought can see where these robots can be used for both good, evil and neutral purposes. Given they are being developed by a military organization bent on conquest…. ??. They might be used to load freight, as the nice video shows, but I doubt they are spending all this time and billion of dollars on a robot that can pick up a box without falling over.

          BTW you contradicted yourself. “Your choices many be unethical, immoral, faulty etc. That does not make you evil.” vs. “Evil is stupidly accepting…”

          • Doug Stevens | February 27, 2016 at 2:44 pm |

            Yep, The people who are to gain full control of these robots are the very same kind of people who will order fire bombing of cities mostly populated by children, women and elderly.

            The people who will have end control of these robots are the same people who armed the bombers and those who piloted the deliverance of the ordinance and those who are currently having fun remotely bombing weddings in the Middle East.

  2. I can hardly wait for the first robot politician, or the first robot pedophile. Is there a vaccine to fight robotics?

  3. These things make me think that owning my own personal LAWS rocket is not so crazy after all….

  4. The goal (programming and capabilities) of these robots is THE QUESTION. Playing ‘Iron Man’I,II,III by officials for the purpose of war, would be the worst, in particular if paid by all Taxpayers, not even knowing about it, in my opinion. But, if these robots will be thought to remove weeds from millions of hectares of herbicide/pesticide laced fields growing the deleterious GMO’s, if they are going to be thought to remove every GMO plant and replace it by ORGANIC non-toxic HEALTHY plant, then I’d have nothing against such ‘helpers’.. Many inventions represent a double sword event, they can be turned into a lethal weapon, but also can be used for good purposes..
    Japanese SUMO robots for example, are helping old lonely,sick people, they can dig the worst radioactive nightmare out of disaster areas, they can do the ‘dirty, most dangerous’ job, nobody would do otherwise.. BUT, again, the ‘problem’ with robots is their intentional fully determined interface, complicated to a level where just one split point of 0 or 1 can have these deleterious effects, against which the only solution would be a hammer, unless the robot carries some nuclear weapon..

  5. philip.dennany | February 25, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Reply

    No need for elections when we (masses of human population) are replaced.

  6. Jacqueline Taylor Robson | February 25, 2016 at 1:24 pm | Reply

    Can you use a water hose to blow out the electronics? Electronics and water don’t mix well.


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