Boston Dynamics introduced a fully electric robot — with a dig at Tesla

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A future of humanoid robots taking over dangerous tasks from real people might not be too far off — and that future may be electric.

Robotics design company Boston Dynamics revealed a fully electric robot, Atlas, Wednesday, saying it is “designed for real-world applications.”

“A decade ago, we were one of the only companies putting real R&D effort into humanoid robots,” Boston Dynamics said in a statement. “Now the landscape in the robotics industry is very different. Our customers have seen success with Spot and Stretch and they are eager to tackle the next challenge with Atlas.”

Compared to its previous generations of robots, including the hydraulic Atlas (HD Atlas), the electric version of the robot “will be stronger, with a broader range of motion,” the company added. HD Atlas can lift and move heavy, irregular objects, it said, but the company is working on new grippers for its robots to meet different customer needs.

Boston Dynamics said it is “confident” in its plan to “deliver a valuable solution” with Atlas, given its record of commercializing its other robots: Spot, its four-legged robot used on construction sites, and Stretch, which is designed to work in warehouses.

Atlas was built off decades of research, Boston Dynamics said. The company has an investment from automotive manufacturer Hyundai, which will be testing and iterating Atlas’s uses as it builds on its automotive manufacturing capabilities over the next few years, it said.

In a video on X showing the new robot, Boston Dynamics wrote: “We promise this is not a person in a bodysuit” — presumably taking a dig at Tesla, which presented a person dancing in a bodysuit at the announcement of its Tesla Bot in 2021. Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The electric Atlas robot takes a humanoid form, which Boston Dynamics says “is a useful design for robots working in a world designed for people.”

“Atlas may resemble a human form factor, but we are equipping the robot to move in the most efficient way possible to complete a task, rather than being constrained by a human range of motion,” Boston Dynamics said, adding that Atlas’s movements will go beyond those possible of humans.

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