DARPA unveils ATLAS, Is the Terminator one step closer?
When you think of humanoid robots you might think of or C-3PO or the NS-5 from the popular Will Smith film iRobot.
But if you were to imagine military robots armed to the teeth the T-100 from The Terminator films might be the first thing you think of.
Well DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has just unveiled its latest advancement in military robotic hardware.
Meet ATLAS, – Standing 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing 23.6 stone (149.68 kg) its no WALL-E.
Boston Dynamics has designed ATLAS to traverse rough terrain, use tools and climb using its 28 hydraulically actuated joints. ATLAS also has 2 sets of hands, on-board real-time control computer and a head with LIDAR (measures distance with a laser, as in Google’s self-driving car.)
According to the video, above, DARPA plans for Atlas to aid in rescue situations, drive vehicles or even crash through walls. Thankfully, if the robot decides to break free from human control, it can easily be disconnected from its power source.
As much as the humanitarian uses for this kind of technology sound Utopian, it doesn’t take much of a leap in imagination to envisage these robots being used for military and private use.
Much like the claims of flying unmanned drones only being used for surveillance, the evidence clearly points to a military goal.
With over 30k US soldiers being killed or wounded in action in Iraq alone, its no wonder that the US government are looking to minimize casualties, while maximizing on efficiency.
Remember a robot doesn’t need paid, rest, food, clothes, housing and best /worst of all ATLAS has no emotions.
Manned robots are another kettle of fish all together. Meet the Kuratas, a four wheeled, thirty joint exoskeleton. Controlled by a pilot or remotely. The remote operator uses a 3g touch screen phone as the primary interface. The on-board pilot’s (UI) is a Kinect (X-Box) based device.
At 3.5m Tall and weighing 4.5 tons this hefty piece of kit will set you back £929,182 (depending on the options.) Amazingly Suidobashi Heavy Industry was taking pre-orders as a joke and they racked up 3,000 orders.
Do you think the Atlas robot is cool tech, or a sign of impending robot overlords? We’d like to know what you think.