Google’s Terrifying Humanoid ATLAS Robot Strolls Through The Woods Like A Drunk Terminator

Google’s Boston Dynamics released new footage of its Atlas project, showing off the robot’s improved balancing capabilities. The humanoid robot can now walk across uneven surfaces and can even stumble around outside, but the company clearly has a ways to go before the Atlas can perform Swan Lake. 

atlas walking robot
Still image of Atlas in Marc Raibert's FAB presentation

As silly as Atlas looks as it wobbles its way down a forest path, the robot’s sense of balance is actually very impressive. When we last covered the robot (in November of 2014), Atlas was making waves because it could balance on one foot while mimicking part of the famous kick from the movie Karate Kid. Now, Atlas is heading outside and trying to stay upright while dealing with uneven, unpredictable terrain.

“But again, our focus is on balance and dynamics and working a little bit the way people and animals do where you move quickly in order to keep yourself stabilized if you’re disturbed,” said Boston Dynamics founder, Marc Raibert.

For now, Atlas requires a bulky power cord for its outdoor strolls, but Raibert says they are working on cutting the cord so Atlas can roam free. A robot that is already off the leash is BostonDynamic’s BigDog, which resembles a dog and can walk on punishing terrain. There are multiple models of BigDog, including a particularly large one that can carry equipment for solidiers.  It’s also capable of retaining its balance even when pushed or (as happens in one of the clips of BigDog), kicked. (All we can say is that guy should be paying more attention to Woz.)