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