‘Terrifying’: Watch humanoid robot backflip and run military-style obstacle courses

Atlas leaping diagonally between platforms.
Atlas leaping diagonally between platforms. Boston Dynamics/Video Screenshot

Are we one step closer to the robo apocalypse?

Boston Dynamics, the mechanical wizards behind door-opening robots and electronic dogs, released a new video Thursday showing its humanoid robot Atlas running and jumping like a parkour pro through an obstacle course.

“Atlas does parkour. The control software uses the whole body including legs, arms and torso, to marshal the energy and strength for jumping over the log and leaping up the steps without breaking its pace,” the company wrote. “Atlas uses computer vision to locate itself with respect to visible markers on the approach to hit the terrain accurately.”

The video shows the robot jogging and jumping over a large log without breaking pace, then hopping diagonally up three large steps and running forward.

Previous videos have showed Atlas going for an jog outside and doing a backflip off a platform.

It’s not all Atlas can do. The robot is fully equipped with 28 movable joints, stereo and LIDAR vision, hydraulics and 3D printed components. Atlas can withstand being pushed around and, if it falls over, can get back up on its own, according to the company.

Some on social media, sensing us moving closer to a robot uprising, called the new video “utterly terrifying.”

Boston Dynamics has made other robots, too, including a doglike bot that jogs through the woods with an unnerving mechanical hum and a one-armed four-legged robot that can deliver cans of soda. That last one might even be for sale by 2019, according to Tech Crunch.

The company’s co-founder and president Marc Raibert said robots were the next technological revolution after the internet, according to CNET.

“The internet lets you touch all the information in the world, but robots let you touch everything in the world and manipulate it,” he said, according to the site. “That’s a bigger idea.”

The company used to be owned by Google but was sold to SoftBank in 2017.