Part of the reason why Google has reorganized itself into Alphabet is to allow the Silicon Valley tech giant to develop the needed divisions and breathing room required for all its projects and interests, whether it is self-driving cars or beaming internet from a drone.
One of these projects would eventually lead to the development of Google Robotics. The division’s projects have slowly been bearing fruit ,and a new announcement this week showed off the latest development within the company.
Boston Dynamics has revealed the latest version of its “Atlas” bipedal robot. In a video posted to the company’s YouTube page, the new generation of Atlas is shown taking a stroll in the snow, recovering from a few slips, and it even squats down to pick up a massive box.
The old Atlas model, first unveiled in 2013, weighed 149 kg (330 pounds) and was 1.8 meters (6 feet) tall. The new model is closer to the weight and height of an average human at just 1.7 meters (5 feet 9 inches) tall and weighing 86.1 kg (180 pounds). It is also equipped with a LIDAR system in its head, which allows it to estimate and measure distances.
In the video, the new Atlas goes through a gauntlet of tests. It walks over rough and snowy terrain unguided. It is also capable of responding to unknown situations, such as when an employee knocks the box it is trying to pick up out of its hands. The robot takes note of the new location of the box, and picks it up again.
It is also much more capable of balancing itself to prevent it from falling. Later on, another employee pushes Atlas so that it falls over, and the robot simply pushes itself upright with no sign of a scratch on it.
The new model of Atlas furthers the hopes of developing anthropomorphic robots that could replace humans in manual labor and lead to a new robotic industrial revolution.