Watch Boston Dynamics Atlas Robot Navigate A Construction Site Like A Hard Hat Boss

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Boston Dynamics shows off its Atlas robot helping out on a construction site, with a 540-degree flip and all. Atlas is the company's research platform designed to push the limits of whole-body mobility, even if OSHA may not wholly approve.

Atlas is a robot with an advanced control system and state-of-the-art hardware that delivers power and balance allowing for human-level agility. Its custom battery, valves, and compact hydraulic power unit produce an incredible amount of power to its 28 hydraulic joints, permitting Atlas to perform its signature backflips and other incredible feats of mobility.

Scott Kuindersma, Boston Dynamics' team lead on Atlas, explained that the latest video is "meant to communicate an expansion of the research we're doing on Atlas." He continued, "We're not just thinking about how to make a robot move dynamically through its environment, like we did in Parkour and Dance (YouTube videos). Now, we're starting to put Atlas to work and think about how the robot should be able to perceive and manipulate objects in its environment."

While the video may make Atlas appear ready to assist on a construction site, it does not show the enormous amount of planning and all the failed attempts that are edited out. Boston Dynamics does, however, produce and sell two other robots, Spot and Stretch, which are used on job sites around the globe. Spot is a four-legged robot that is mainly utilized to perform surveillance and inspection tasks, while Stretch has a large arm designed to move boxes within a warehouse setting.

"We're layering on new capabilities," remarked Atlas controls lead Ben Stephens. "Parkour and dancing were interesting examples of pretty extreme locomotion, and now we're trying to build upon that research to also do meaningful manipulation."

Atlas may not be making its way to a local construction site any time soon, but we can all appreciate the incredibly complex routines the company shares of the robot doing things like a 540-degree flip until then.