Time to hide: Google’s humanoid robot can now walk outside on its own

Time for a walk.
Time for a walk.
Image: Reuters/Tyrone Siu
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As you hide behind a tree, your heart races. You breathe shallow so they don’t hear you. But you know you’re running in vain. The robots are coming and this forest won’t hide you for long.

When the robot uprising happens, you’ll have Google—or Alphabet, as its parent company is soon to be called—to thank for those robots’ ability to track through the world. Its subsidiary Boston Dynamics has taught its Atlas robot, which was the backbone for many of the robots at the recent DARPA Robotics Challenge, how to find its way out in the world.

According to Popular Science, the engineers sent the Atlas robot out into the world for the first time, trailed by someone carrying a power pack tethered to the robot. In the future, however, it will be able to wander on its own, Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert said at a recent conference hosted by the Fab Foundation.

Atlas, initially appearing to look like a drunk person stumbling home through the woods after an exceedingly heavy night, seems to have perfected the ability to walk, and even jog, in the woods. Raibert said that Atlas’ mobility is “in shooting range” of a human’s, but not quite up to that standard yet.

Image: YouTube/Michael Campbell

And if that’s not terrifying enough, the engineers at Boston Dynamics—seemingly taking inspiration from the evil kid in the first “Toy Story” movie—have made a robot dog with an arm for a head.

Raibert added that the team took Atlas to see how it fared in uncertain conditions. Atlas uses a laser radar system to “see” the world, similar to Google’s self-driving cars. “Out in the world is just a totally different challenge than in the lab,” he said in the video. ”You can’t predict what it’s going to be like.”

While Atlas is still acclimating to the outside world, it’s good to see that it didn’t react to the being outside for the first as other robots have this year. Perhaps we’ll yet be able to contain any potential robot uprising.