Boston Dynamics Teach Atlas Robot Parkour

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Atlas robots use perception to drive their movement rather than pre-programmed motions. The robots’ RGB cameras and depth sensors detect their environment to determine their trajectory and speed. This means engineers can skip pre-programmed jumps or turns. Instead, they can create a template behavior and match it with its environment online. Atlas has three onboard computers to handle the computation required to perceive its surroundings and plot its course.

Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics engineers show Atlas how to navigate a parkour course by displaying high-level maps that indicate where the robot should go and what stunts it should do. These maps are approximate descriptions of the parkour course and are annotated with obstacle navigation templates. These templates are updated constantly. In addition, the robot uses a single controller to execute each move.

Atlas’s new owners are working on teaching the bipedal ‘bot new tricks and moves, and the team has designed a custom parkour course to help him learn the moves. Though it can’t leap as high as a human, the robotics team believes Atlas’ abilities can be applied to real-world situations.

Atlas is learning parkour as part of a larger project at Boston Dynamics to improve the abilities of their robots. Parkour is a highly complex activity requiring the robot to shift its balance and perform various tasks. This means it needs to be constantly aware of its surroundings and can seamlessly transition from one behavior to the next. Moreover, parkour allows scientists to experiment with different skills and techniques and test the robots’ reactions.

One of the most impressive aspects of Boston Dynamics’ demonstration video is the bipedal Atlas robots performing parkour. Although the robots are still far from fully functional, the demonstration video showcases the company’s progress in humanoid robotics. While the video is an excellent demonstration of the company’s work, its lack of sound effects and background music sometimes makes it somewhat distracting.

Unlike its previous appearances, Atlas’ movement is now determined by perception rather than pre-programmed motions. A set of depth sensors and RGB cameras help it recognize its surroundings. Engineers no longer need to pre-program the robot’s jumps; instead, they can build a template behavior that matches the environment online. Regarding computation, the Atlas robot’s three onboard computers handle the analysis required to perceive the world around it and plot a course.

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While Atlas is not a consumer product, it is a research platform for future helper robots that can learn human-like dexterity. For now, it is impossible to make a robot that grows in size – the company’s first consumer product, the Spot robot, costs $75,000 and is only available for demonstrations. Fortunately, though, Atlas is already learning new tricks.


The Boston Dynamics team is teaching Atlas robot parkour on the streets of Boston. You may have seen videos of Atlas attempting one-off stunts or even completing an obstacle course in one go. But you may still need to learn that Atlas is still a work in progress. It must still be completely autonomous and programmed to make specific movements in certain domains. Because of that, mistakes are bound to happen. The Boston Dynamics team says that Atlas only manages to complete the vault portion of its parkour performance about half the time. But the video makes it clear that Atlas has plenty of work ahead of it.

The engineers of Boston Dynamics give the robot a high-level map of the parkour course. These maps indicate which routes the robot should take and which stunts it should perform. These maps are not exact, but they provide enough information to guide Atlas along the course and avoid obstacles. In addition, the engineers have annotated the actions on the map, which helps the robot navigate different environments.

Atlas has undergone a few improvements since it debuted in 2013, including its ability to vault, run and jump over beams. It is now also capable of coordinating a backflip. The team worked on the routine for several months, testing the robot’s balance and coordination. As the Atlas continues to improve its skills, the team hopes to create an Atlas robot that can perform parkour in real-world situations.

The Boston Dynamics team also uses parkour as an opportunity for engineers to test the robot’s skills. In addition to learning how to move efficiently, the engineers also develop control algorithms that help the robot move seamlessly from one behavior to another. This is an excellent opportunity for scientists to learn about rapid behavior creation, dynamic locomotion, and robot perception and response.

Atlas was previously shown performing parkour in a less impressive video than the new version. The new video features an elaborate course with a slanted ramp, a balance beam, and multiple platforms. Boston Dynamics videos usually feature one robot, unlike other robot videos, but can eventually feature two robots. Atlas can run, jump and jog around with exceptional agility.

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Boston Dynamics’ bipedal robots

A video posted online by Boston Dynamics shows Atlas robots performing parkour maneuvers. This video breaks from the company’s usual practice of showing polished results and real-life, imperfect Atlas robots. While this video may be disappointing to some, it offers a glimpse into how these robots are built and what it takes to build a fully-functional humanoid robot.

Boston Dynamics engineers developed template behaviors for Atlas to mimic and adapt to the environment in which it operates. They had to balance the robot’s short-term and long-term goals and refine its motions with computer simulations and testing. The videos also show the robot performing one-off tricks.

In addition to performing parkour moves, Atlas can open doors and perform other routines. This allows Boston Dynamics engineers to experiment with different behaviors and improve their systems to detect and avoid obstacles. The company has been developing Atlas robots for a decade, and this video reveals how the robots have progressed.

In a behind-the-scenes video, the robots struggled with an obstacle course, taking hard falls and almost losing their footing on the final platform. However, they eventually complete the routine successfully. Boston Dynamics is now exploring ways to push robots to new performance levels.

While Atlas’ hardware isn’t substantially different from previous demonstrations, the robot is more responsive. It has more control over its movement thanks to dramatic improvements in its small corrective activities. In some videos, the robot can flail its arms and legs to adjust its balance and trajectory mid-stunt.

Boston Dynamics has already shown Atlas robots performing parkour in 2018. This video was less impressive than the current one, but this one has more features, including multiple platforms, slanted ramps, and a balance beam. The video starts with a single robot, then moves on to two robots performing jogging and jumping. While the Atlas robots are still very impressive, their agility is now far beyond that of the average human.

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Despite its high-tech nature, Atlas robots can be pretty dangerous. This video shows Atlas robots navigating obstacles with relative ease. While they fail about half the time, it is still impressive how handy they can be. In one instance, two Atlas robots perform backflips.

Boston Dynamics’ parkour track

Boston Dynamics has created a parkour track for its Atlas robot. This course is designed to challenge the robot and its programmed controls. The team is also exploring the possibilities of pushing the robot’s capabilities. While the robot’s abilities are not yet mature enough to compete with humans, the team is exploring ways to develop its technology further.

Atlas is a robot that can perform backflips and vaults and run on narrow paths. It has developed basic movement skills but needs to be more graceful than a human. For instance, it only accomplishes the vault portion of parkour performance about half the time. The engineers would instead focus on improving the balance of Atlas, but it’s important to note that it still lacks the agility of human athletes.

The engineers gave Atlas a map of a parkour course that includes obstacles and targets. The map could be more accurate, but it is sufficient to provide the robot with directions and to predict which moves will make it the fastest. The map also contains templates for obstacles and actions. These are not geometrically precise, but the map gives the robot enough information to navigate the track.

The Boston Dynamics Atlas robot has been captured performing parkour on film. The team pushed the robot to perform a variety of complex routines. The robot is five feet tall and weighs 190 pounds. It has onboard batteries, RGB cameras, depth sensors, and three built-in computers. The robot’s abilities will continue to improve as it develops its program.

Boston Dynamics plans to expand Atlas’ parkour training to other environments, including the real world. While Atlas isn’t ready for production, the company hopes to use what they have learned through Atlas’ parkour training to improve other robotic activities. The company has already partnered with the automaker Hyundai to launch an AI institute to improve robotics and intelligent machines.

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Boston Dynamics recently shared a video of two Atlas robots completing a parkour routine. The Atlas robot performs a backflip in the footage, jumps over chasms, and vaults across a balance beam. At the end of the video, the robots complete a backflip, perform a vault, and celebrate with signature moves.

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Husein Gradasevic
Boston Dynamics Teach Atlas Robot Parkour
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