Boston Dynamics Upgrades the ATLAS Humanoid Robot With a Battery for Untethered Wireless Operation

Boston Dynamics has overhauled its ATLAS humanoid robot (previously) ahead of the upcoming DARPA Robotics Challenge finals, rebuilding around 75% of the ‘bot’, including, most significantly, the removal of all tethered power and communication cords. The upgrade was possible thanks, in part, to the addition of lighter materials, allowing for the inclusion of an on-board battery, which will offer new challenges for teams competing in the finals in Pomona, California on June 5 and 6, 2015.

The introduction of a battery and variable-pressure pump into Atlas poses a strategic challenge for teams. The operator will be able to run the robot on a mid-pressure setting for most operations to save power, and then apply bursts of maximum pressure when additional force is needed. The teams are going to have to game out the right balance of force and battery life to complete the course