DARPA humanoids handle obstacles
DARPA has posted a couple of new videos showing two predecessors of its Atlas robot — the basis for the reference platform provided in the DARPA Robotics Challenge — overcoming stairs, pits, and other obstacles.
First, here’s a video of Pet-Proto climbing up onto a knee-high ledge, then hopping down. It then carefully maneuvers over a pit, bracing itself with its arms on the side walls. At the end, a brief stair-climbing exercise is shown.
Then, here’s a second video with more detail of the same Pet-Proto robot working the stairs, including some slow-motion close-ups. That’s followed by some footage of PETMAN walking a treadmill, crouching, doing push-ups, and at the end, displaying what can only be described as a jaunty swagger.
Both of these robots are made by Boston Dynamics; it’s easy to see the advancement from Pet-Proto to PETMAN, and take it just a little bit further to the full Atlas humanoid. A modified Atlas will be provided to top competitors in tracks B and C of the DARPA Robotics Challenge, so those teams can focus on programming the AI (which, while less visible, is at least as challenging as the mechanics). See our previous blog post about the DRC for more detail.