Boston Dynamics and Gravity Industries to make flying robots

1st April 2024
Paige West

Today, Boston Dynamics announced a new partnership with Gravity Industries, a firm known for designing, building, and flying jet suits.

The objective of this collaboration is to develop a novel approach to robotic exploration by equipping Boston Dynamics' humanoid robot, Atlas, with the capability to fly. The teams have initiated test flights over Boston Harbor.

The firms foresee a broad spectrum of potential uses for the airborne robot. These include:

  • Inspection and repair of wind turbines
  • Wildfire monitoring and emergency assistance
  • Washing windows on skyscrapers
  • Rescuing lost balloons
  • Serving as in-air traffic controllers and performing flight maintenance for commercial airliners.

“With so much global interest in new applications for quadrupeds and humanoids, we decided it was time to push the envelope,” explained Marc Theermann, Chief Strategy Officer for Boston Dynamics. “Walking on the ground almost seems easy these days, so we’re taking our innovation to the skies.”

The initial trial will examine the aerial dexterity of the flying robot in comparison to a human's capabilities. During the research and development stage, Atlas will take part in Gravity’s novel racing series, competing alongside human participants. Competitors will navigate 1,500bhp Jet Suits in an intense race for the podium at renowned waterfront venues globally.

“We’re making science fiction a reality,” said Richard Browning, CEO of Gravity. “This is the closest most of us will ever come to feeling like a superhero, and we can’t wait to see all the places Atlas will be flying in the next few years.”

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