Parkour robot Atlas jumps obstacles as Boston Dynamics reveals its terrifying robot has become even more powerful

Anthony Cuthbertson

Robotics firm Boston Dynamics has unveiled the latest version of its highly-advanced Atlas robot, showing the machine performing parkour tricks over obstacles.

Boston Dynamics describes Atlas as the "world's most dynamic humanoid," with previous videos showing the robot performing backflips.

"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 video's description states.

"Atlas uses computer vision to locate itself with respect to visible markers on the approach to hit the terrain accurately."

Within hours of Boston Dynamics posting the video to YouTube, it had received more than one million views.

A still from the video showing the Atlas robot jumping over a log (Boston Dynamics)

A second video published to the firm's YouTube channel shows its Spot robot being tested on a building site in Tokyo.

The robotic dog could be the first of Boston Dynamics' robots to be used in a commercial setting, capable of assisting construction workers in carrying loads and surveying the progress of work.

An array of sensors and cameras mounted on the robot's back were used in the latest demonstration to let it carry out "even more detailed inspection work on site" while it autonomously navigates up and down stairs and through half-built rooms.

The Massachusetts-based firm was initially spun out of MIT with funding from the US military to build machines for the army, however it was acquired by Google X in 2013, which began developing robots for other purposes.

Now owned ny Japan's SoftBank Group following a 2017 takeover, Boston Dynamics now has four main robots in development: Atlas, Handle, Spot and SpotMini.

The first commercial roll-out of the robots is scheduled for the second half of 2019.