The Atlas humanoid robot is now capable of operating for an hour. The robot designed by Boston Dynamics, a company which Google owns, is ready to function on its own for about 60 minutes. In case of any emergency or disaster cases, the robot operates without being connected to any power sources for about an hour.
Google has designed a humanoid robot which weighs about 110 kg in order to act in disaster scenarios. The 6-feet tall robot was designed to resemble human form in terms of mobility. The robot can climb, walk or run using its arms just as any human. Besides its bipedal stature, the robot is equipped to function is harsh conditions. Any outdoor challenge should be manageable for Atlas.
US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) have taken the decision to build a defense-robot which can be used in outdoor activities where man has difficulty to access. In this respect, Darpa Robotics Challenge (DRC) released the first version of Atlas in 2013.
However, during DRC trials, the robot has proven to require electrical power sources such as tethers. That means that the robot can only function and be controlled while being connected to electrical wires.
Meanwhile, the Boston Dynamics Atlas has been upgraded to “Atlas Unplugged”. The main feature available is related to power batteries. The robot uses a power battery which lasts for about an hour. Also, the Atlas can be controlled without any electrical wires necessary. The new upgraded Atlas will be presented at the DRC final next summer, in June.
There have been seven teams working on this specific project. Each team received an upgraded new robot to polish it. Made up from scratch parts, the new robot was 75 percent improved by Atlas teams. They made the robot stronger, powerful and with more dexterity.
Another improvement consisted in replacing the pneumatic pump which controlled any movements the robot had. The original pump was much too noisy, so the crew replaced it with a silent one.
In training, each team has a set of adventures and obstacles the robot has to overcome. In a real-time crisis situation, the robot has to face all obstacles. The real challenge is that the team has to accomplish the mission with little battery. Therefore, they programme the robot to run at a balance power level so they can prolong its activity.
The robot will be programmed to function at a mid-pressure system in order to save power. In case of disaster scenarios, the team will implement bursts of maximum pressure.
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