The Oregon State University researchers successfully coaxed a bipedal robot of the couch to complete the first robotic 5k outdoors run. A single battery charge allowed Cassie to complete the route untethered in 53 minutes. You should focus on beating that time next time you go for a run in order to outpace the killer robots.
(At least, for now.)
The company has been pushing the commercial case for bipedal robots for quite some time now. Cassie is a product of Agility Robotics, an OSU spin-off. A subsidiary of Casey Research, Cassie was produced from 2017 through 2019 and is now being used in research labs. As part of a research project on autonomous delivery robots, Ford is using an updated bipedal bot, Digit, that has arms to handle packages.
The sale of bipedal machines is challenging, however. They have the advantage of being able to traverse spaces normally made for people, such as stairways and corridors. In contrast to quadrupedal robots, such as those made by Massachusetts-based Boston Dynamics, their bipedalism makes them inherently less stable. When something stands on four legs, it’s harder to knock it over.
It may change as deep learning techniques enable bipedal robots to develop new methods of stabilizing themselves during locomotion, according to the team behind Cassie. Despite their shortcomings, these methods are still useful. In Cassie’s 5K run, for instance, the computer brain overheated once, and the human controller told Cassie to take a corner too quickly in the other. (Yes, Cassie did not run in a direction that she chose.)
Jonathan Hurst, an Agility Robotics co-founder in addition to being an OSU robotics professor, believes bipedal bots will soon become the norm blending in with people. “In the not so distant future people will experience robots in many areas of their lives, robots that will improve the quality of life and work alongside us,” stated Hurst in a blog post on the OSU website.
There’s a good chance you’ll run into them on your morning run!