back to article Atlas unplugged! DARPA's unTerminator robot cuts the power cable

Atlas, the 6ft 2in (1.88m), 345lb (156kg) humanoid machine being used in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC), has had an extensive upgrade and is now free to roam on battery power alone, the defense research group has said. Youtube Video The original Atlas, designed by Boston Dynamics (now owned by Google) in 2013, was an all- …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Hmmm....

    I can forsee lots of uses.. the thing though that puzzles me is that DARPA has its contest for autonomous vehicles so why should the robot drive?

    I wonder if we can get one someday for doing things around the house... ? Or just have one in the front yard for security (like Gort). Properly armed of course.

    1. Wokstation

      Re: Hmmm....

      They want it to be able to interact with stuff made for us meat bags, including the possibility of having a jeep to get to am emergency, turning a door handle and maybe even ladders!

  2. JassMan Silver badge

    What can possibly go wrong?

    They tell us not to worry 'cos its got a wireless kill switch and yet one of the tests is to saturate the test zone with parasitic radio signals to test the wifi. Excuse me, but if it runs amok because its internal wifi has been overcome, surely it is unlikely to respond to respond to the kill as well.

    Maybe they should have equipped it with laser detectors like they use in proper wargames.

    1. frank ly

      Re: What can possibly go wrong?

      I'm hoping it's a wireless 'enable' code that must be permanently present and continuously sending a complicated code. If the enable code is lost then the power is cut. (Cue comments about a HAL situation.)

      1. phil dude
        Coat

        Re: What can possibly go wrong?

        If history teaches us anything is it will be the unexpected that causes all the problems.

        I would expect a kill switch to be a gigantic red button with a target on it...

        P.

        1. Nym

          Re: What can possibly go wrong?

          "I would expect a kill switch to be a gigantic red button with a target on it..." that's armored.

  3. VinceH Silver badge
    Terminator

    New pump is quieter...

    ...taking the robot one step closer to having a full stealth mode.

  4. The last doughnut

    New safeguards

    In order to mitigate the quiet hydraulic pump the new unit will be designed to continuously whine about its working conditions:

    ooh its too cold in here

    ooh someone opened the blinds and its impairing my vision

    ooh this chair I asked for is actually less comfortable than my old one

    Or alternatively it is designed to whistle, hum and huff all day.

  5. HKmk23

    Can't wait

    To read the DARPA specs for the 2025 competition.......fly a plane, do battlefield surgery, go covert and build IED's?

  6. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Is that you, Gregor Samsa?

    It seems odd that what we're seeing is either bipeds that need a lot of engineering just to stay upright, or quadrupeds that can't do much except run around and carry stuff (though I have seen a clip of a 'mule' that throws pieces of masonry across the room - presumably it's been equipped with a temper module).

    Why hasn't anyone made a quadruped with arms - like a centaur? Or a giant robot cockroach?

  7. Lostintranslation

    It's starting to look like Bender, although whether humans have a use for a girder bending robot is another matter entirely.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Took the words right out of my finger tips!

      That first photo is clearly Bender! Atlas is just the code name, and there is some slight obfuscation, as with new car models.

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