Boston Dynamics unveils new, all electric humanoid robot Atlas

Boston Dynamics unveils new, all electric humanoid robot Atlas


18 April 2024

Boston Dynamics unveiled a new, all-electric iteration of their humanoid robot one day after declaring it was retiring Atlas, its hydraulic robot. Compared to its predecessor, the next-generation Atlas robot is intended to have a significantly wider range of motion.

The goal of Boston Dynamics' redesign was to demonstrate that Atlas can maintain a humanoid form without restricting "how a bipedal robot can move." The company states that the updated model is "uniquely capable of tackling dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks" because of its swiveling joints.”

We designed the electric version of Atlas to be stronger, more dexterous, and more agile, Atlas may resemble a human form factor, but we are equipping the robot to move in the most efficient way possible to complete a task, rather than being constrained by a human range of motion. Atlas will move in ways that exceed human capabilities.

The new robot's capabilities are teased in a way that is both dramatic and unsettling.In the first moments of the video, Atlas is seen lying on the ground like a corpse before quickly folding its legs over its torso and straightening up in a way straight out of a Cronenberg body-horror movie. The illuminating, curved head of Atlas has a charming Pixar lamp quality, but it seems jarring when it spins at the waist and charges the camera.

Additionally, the design itself is rather more humanoid. The updated Atlas resembles bipedal robots such as Tesla's Optimus, with longer limbs, a straighter back, and a separate swivel-able "head." Its "face" has an integrated ring light, and there are no visible connections. With a plethora of new AI and machine learning techniques from Boston Dynamics, it is a clear upgrade over its predecessor.

The company also stated that in order to prepare the robot for a variety of diverse industry contexts, it is investigating several new gripper variations in addition to enhancing the capabilities previously attained with the previous generation hydraulic Atlas model, such as lifting and navigating things.

Hyundai will be the first company "over the next few years" to test the redesigned Atlas, according to Boston Dynamics. In a similar manner, other suppliers such as Figure and Automatrik are testing other humanoid robots on Mercedes and BMW assembly lines.

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