The Pentagon has spent untold billions of dollars on research and development related to the advancement of robotics over the past few decades.
As we've previously discussed on TG Daily, the military already makes significant use of robots and autnomous platforms for a variety of scenarios and missions, including bomb disposal and recon. And now DARPA is looking to further develop rescue robots to aid victims in the event of a catastrophe too hazardous for human responders to handle.
A new video of the Atlas Robot being developed by Boston Dynamics with funding provided from the DARPA Maximum Mobility and Manipulation program was recently released. The video depicts Atlas as it navigates a mockup of hallway filled with obstacles - climbing its way over an opening in the floor, making its way upstairs and navigating around various obstacles.
Frankly, Atlas reminds me more the little of Hector from Saturn 3, The version of Atlas you see here is a prototype, and the robot hopes to one day be used during disasters such where humans are unable to respond. It should probably be noted that what we see in this video is only a taste of what DARPA has planned for participants in its Robotics Challenge. The robots will eventually be forced to drive cars, walk on uneven surfaces that are covered in debris, climb shaky industrial-style ladders and operate power tools to break through concrete.
The robots will also have to be capable of closing a valve near a leaky pipe while replacing a piece of industrial machinery such as cooling pump.
The team that creates a robot which meets all the challenges at the the end of 27 of grueling tests wins $2 million.