We have robots that can clean windows, deliver groceries, mow our lawns, fold our laundry and take care of our children – but engineers have yet to create a fully functional walking robot. Until now, that is. Introducing “Cassie” – the bipedal machine designed by Agility Robotics – a startup out of Oregon State University.
Backed by a $1 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the team at Agility is modeling its walking “Cassie” after the movements of animals in the wild. “We’re trying to duplicate the appearance of an animal, just the techniques it uses to be agile, efficient and robust in its movement,” Jonathan Hurst, an associate professor of robotics at the OSU College of Engineering said in a recent statement.
Whether it’s patrolling the grounds at a corporate park, delivering a package to your front door, or simply doing chores around the house – the application for a walking robot is widespread. As it stands right now, robots are limited to a specified GPS radius and are restrained by their wheels on flat surfaces. “Quite simply, robots with legs can go a lot of places that wheels cannot. This will be the key to deliveries that can be made 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by a fleet of autonomous vans that pull to your curb, and an onboard robot that delivers to your doorstep,” Hurst said in a recent interview with IFL Science.
Help from OSU’s ATRIAS Robot
With the project duration scheduled for 16-months, Agility is building off of OSU’s ATRIAS Robot, according to IFL. ATRIAS is able to walk over uneven surfaces, handle undulation with ease, and tackle various terrains, and even withstand the impact from a human kick. In other words, ATRIAS is a robot designed with balance in mind. OSU’s previous work was instrumental in creating “Cassie”.
Integration with Self-Driving Vehicles
With autonomous vehicle technology already part of the electric vehicle master plan, whether it’s Tesla’s Model 3 or Fisker’s self-driving EMotion EV, integrating a walking robot into the mix would be rather revolutionary. “This technology will simply explode at some point when we create vehicles so automated and robots so efficient that deliveries and shipments are almost free,” Hurst said.
Source: IFL Science