Maybe we’ve all seen too many sci-fi movies, but yep, we’re all going to die at the hands of an army of adaptable robots. To see the latest threat to the continued survival of humanity, check out this video of a new DARPA robot, called the Pet-Proto, that has the ability to recognize obstacles and maneuver around them. It looks like you’ll have to come up with something a little more intricate that just digging pits in the ground and felling trees to discourage mechanoid invaders.
Pet-Proto uses its autonomous decision-making skills in order to navigate roadblocks, both metaphorical and very literal. In the video the prototype also displays remarkable dexterity in the pursuit of climbing over what looks like a park bench, and getting around a wide hole in the floor. Though its balance could definitely use some upgrades, unless it has something to use for support, it won’t take long before this is militarized, armed, and sprinting over a battlefield ready to slaughter a rag-tag force of humans.
The obstacles are similar to what this creation would face in the DARPA Robotics Challenge, a course designed to “test these and other capabilities in a series of tasks that will simulate conditions in a dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environment.” The idea is to create ground robots that the military can be used in real-life disaster situations.
Another goal of the DRC is to widen interest in this type of robotics and make the technology more available to interested contributors. The end goal is to lower the cost while increasing the abilities and facilities of the robots.