Boston Dynamics built a robot that makes Amazon's warehouse bots look primitive

YouTube/Boston DynamicsHandle in action.
  • The US engineering and robotics firm Boston Dynamics posted a video on Thursday of its latest autonomous robot for use in warehouses.
  • In the video, the robot glides across the floor and places pallets in neat stacks using a suction mechanism.
  • Footage of another Boston Dynamics robot dancing to the Bruno Mars hit “Uptown Funk” went viral in October.

The US engineering and robotics firm Boston Dynamics unveiled its latest creation on Thursday: a smooth-moving robot designed for use in warehouses and factories.

The robot, called Handle, specialises in handling and placing pallet-based boxes with a combination of speed and precision. It uses an onboard vision system to track specific pallets, as well as specific boxes, weighing up to 15 kilograms, or about 33 pounds.

It is designed to deploy a series of suction pads to grasp and manipulate a selected box before placing it neatly in the desired location. Boston Dynamics’ video appears to showcase its ability to detect and place boxes onto moving conveyor belts.

Handle remains a prototype for now, but the company could showcase the robot at a logistics show next month, suggesting it could have commercial potential. It’s a long way from Amazon’s warehouse robots, which are fully deployed internationally, but has the potential to make them look primitive one day.

Read more: Boston Dynamics’ humanoid robot can now jump up stairs like a parkour pro

Boston Dynamics is known for pushing the boundaries of robotics tech, with several videos of its creations going viral on the web. A favourite is the dog-like robot SpotMini, which the company says can autonomously navigate complex environments such as cluttered offices and narrow staircases.

A video of SpotMini dancing to Bruno Mars’s “Uptown Funk” went viral in October.

Boston Dynamics, which was founded in 1992, has raised $US37 million of funding, according to Crunchbase. In June 2017, SoftBank acquired the company from Alphabet for an undisclosed sum.

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