Boston Dynamics’ robots master the art of parkour

Technology

Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robots may be under new ownership, but they haven’t lost any of their old tricks. The robotics design company has shared a new video featuring its agile uprights tackling an obstacle course. If you haven’t seen what these humanoid bots are capable of lately, it’s certainly worth a look.

They’ve ditched their tethers, aren’t annoying loud like they once were and exhibit very fluid movement. Aside from a couple of minor hiccups, the run was mostly flawless.

It’s even more impressive when you realize that the bots are adapting to their environment on the fly; none of their movements are “pre-programmed.”

Of course, that’s Boston Dynamics showing its work in the best possible light.

As highlighted in a separate “behind the scenes” clip, the five-foot-tall, 190-pound Atlas bots busted their butts and fell on their faces plenty of times. Chief Technology Officer Aaron Saunders said the hard part isn’t nailing individual obstacles, but stringing it all together in a single run without any major mistakes.

Hyundai, if you recall, purchased an 80 percent stake in Boston Dynamics from SoftBank for around $880 million. At the time, the Korean automaker said it was interested in the company’s tech as it relates to perception, navigation and intelligence. The acquisition was finalized this past June.

Of course, not all of Boston Dynamics’ bots are as approachable as Atlas. Another of the firm’s creations, Handle, has been described by its creators as “nightmare inducing.”