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Boston Dynamics' SpotMini robot dog goes autonomous [Video]

by Justin King

The biped Atlas robot has gained even more life-life motion, smoothly jogging across a yard and jumping over a log.

Boston Dynamics has added a few new videos to its YouTube channel, showcasing the latest impressive feats of the biped Atlas and quadruped SpotMini robots.

Engineers have succeeded in further refining Atlas's life-like motion, enabling the robot to smoothly take a jog across the tricky surface of a lawn and gracefully jump over a log.

SpotMini still moves like a robot, but now benefits from fully autonomous navigation. The demo video shows the machine vision system at work as the robot finds its way through an office and lab facility.

Before making the autonomous run, the SpotMini was manually driven through the space to build a map of the surroundings using data from multiple cameras.

"During the autonomous run, SpotMini uses data from the cameras to localize itself in the map and to detect and avoid obstacles," Boston Dynamics says. "Once the operator presses 'GO' at the beginning of the video, the robot is on its own."

Some of Boston Dynamics' robots were built for search and rescue operations, potentially navigating partially collapsed buildings or other dangerous environments without putting human first-responders at risk.