Military

WATCH: Boston Dynamics Teaches Terminator-Like Robots Parkour

August 22, 2021Mac Caltrider
robots

A Boston Dynamics demonstration shows two humanlike robots performing parkour. Screenshot from YouTube.

Watching Arnold Schwarzenegger take on T-1000 was as far-fetched as it was awesome in 1991. But a new Boston Dynamics video makes a robot-versus-robot scenario seem a little less crazy. 


Militaries around the world are already expanding their use of robots and artificial intelligence. The United States has increased its reliance on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance and precision airstrikes and has started experimenting with unmanned tanklike vehicles. The Army and Marine Corps have also tested robotic “mules,” such as the SMET, to help alleviate the increasing weight burden placed on ground troops. Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida is using robot dogs to patrol its grounds.


RoboSimian, a simian-inspired robot from Jet Propulsion Labs, exits a vehicle during the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Robotics Challenge, June 5, 2015, in Pomona, California. Photo by Master Chief Petty Officer John Williams, courtesy of DVIDS.

In the new Boston Dynamics demonstration video, two bipedal Atlas robots flawlessly execute a parkour routine, an unsettling glimpse into a new level of humanoid robotics and machines that are easy to envision winding up on the battlefield alongside service members in the not-too-distant future. 


“In this video our humanoid robots demonstrate their whole-body athletics, maintaining its balance through a variety of rapidly changing, high-energy activities,” the caption of the newly released demonstration video reads. “Through jumps, balance beams, and vaults, we demonstrate how we push Atlas to its limits to discover the next generation of mobility, perception, and athletic intelligence.”



It’s undeniably strange — borderline uncomfortable — seeing robots move so similarly to humans. Some YouTube comments claim the video must be the work of good CGI, many comments celebrate the incredible feat, and others say what we’re all thinking: “This is absolutely amazing and terrifying, all at the same time.”


The robots’ quick adjustments to maintain balance are so eerily human that they distract from the impressive technological achievement. One bot even brushes off its shoulders while another raises its arms in victory after the grand finale: perfectly synchronized backflips. The lack of background music or any noise beyond the thud of robotic footsteps only ups the creep-factor.


robots
Atlas robots perform parkour in a freaky new Boston Dynamics demo with strong Terminator vibes. Screenshot from Terminator: Dark Fate.

It’s clear robots will have a permanent role in future conflicts, from loitering munitions in Yemen and Lebanon to UAVs in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some estimates project global spending on military drones to exceed $23 billion by 2027. While Atlas is currently for nonmilitary applications, it only takes a speck of imagination to see the combat potential of arming one of the agile robots.


But watching the bipedal Atlas perform parkour has us wondering whether we should be worried about Skynet. Check out the creepy humanoid robots in the video above.


Read Next: Robot Dogs on Patrol at Tyndall Air Force Base



Mac Caltrider
Mac Caltrider

Mac Caltrider is a senior staff writer for Coffee or Die Magazine. He served in the US Marine Corps and is a former police officer. Caltrider earned his bachelor’s degree in history and now reads anything he can get his hands on. He is also the creator of Pipes & Pages, a site intended to increase readership among enlisted troops. Caltrider spends most of his time reading, writing, and waging a one-man war against premature hair loss.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
Grizzly Forge BRCC shirt
Limited Edition: Grizzly Forge Blades on an Awesome BRCC Shirt

Lucas O'Hara of Grizzly Forge has teamed up with BRCC for a badass, exclusive Shirt Club T-shirt design featuring his most popular knife and tiomahawk.

BRCC Limited Edition Josh Raulerson Blackbeard Skull Shirt
From Naval Service to Creative Canvas: BRCC Veteran Artist Josh Raulerson

Coffee or Die sits down with one of the graphic designers behind Black Rifle Coffee's signature look and vibe.

Medal of Honor is held up.
Biden Will Award Medal of Honor to Army Helicopter Pilot Who Rescued Soldiers in Vietnam Firefight

Biden will award the Medal of Honor to a Vietnam War Army helicopter pilot who risked his life to save a reconnaissance team from almost certain death.

dear jack mandaville
Dear Jack: Which Historic Battle Would You Want To Witness?

Ever wonder how much Jack Mandaville would f*ck sh*t up if he went back in time? The American Revolution didn't even see him coming.

west point time capsule
West Point Time Capsule Yields Centuries-Old Coins

A nearly 200-year-old West Point time capsule that at first appeared to yield little more than dust contains hidden treasure, the US Military Academy said.

Ouija Board aircraft carrier
Low-Tech ‘Ouija Boards’ Have Helped Aircraft Carriers Operate for Decades

Since the 1920s, a low-tech tabletop replica of an aircraft carrier’s flight deck has been an essential tool in coordinating air operations.

Army vs. Navy mascot
The Navy Goat vs. the Army Mule: Mascot Origin Stories

For nearly as long as the Army-Navy football rivalry, the academies’ hoofed mascots have stared each other down from the sidelines. Here are their stories.

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
Contact Us
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved