Meet ATLAS — a six-foot-two 330 pound robot which apparently surprisingly enough is designed solely for the purpose of taking part in a robot challenge.
ATLAS is a collaboration between the Boston Dynamics and the US military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It is the successor to the PETMAN robot which also came about from a collaboration between these two entities. PETMAN was built to aid the US Army in the testing of chemical protection clothing and was capable of closely mimicking human walking as well as being pushed without falling. It was also able to perform many other movements expected from a soldier such as crawling.
ATLAS has a different purpose however and Geek.com reports that its main purpose is to compete in a robot challenge. ATLAS is comprised of a powerful processing unit(clearly) as well as 28 hydraulically actuated joints. Situated on its ‘head’ is a LIDAR unit as well as stereo sensors which have the responsibility of monitoring the surroundings of the robot. Weirdly enough it also has two separate pairs of hands.
The first task set out for this towering machine will be to test out seven different variants of behavior and control software, each designed by one of seven teams which have advanced from a DARPA robotics challenge held last month. This testing will be a breeze to implement thanks to middleware integrated into the robot known as the ‘DRC Simulator’. Each team will run ATLAS through a variety of tests including scenarios involving simulated disasters.
DARPA has stated that although the robot is an amazing piece of tech, the real prize is the technology which is responsible for controlling the movements and behavior of ATLAS.
This us quite an impressive project as you can see. Guess what the main prize is for the winning team of the challenge — ATLAS! Yes, the winning team will be awarded with the actual robot. In addition the winning team will receive substantial amounts of funding which will be directed toward the continued development of ATLAS and any possible successors.
The video below of ATLAS is a must see. Enjoy!