It's the stuff of science-fiction movies: A six-foot-two, 330-pound humanoid robot that is agile enough to climb using its hands and feet.
And it is what DARPA, a research arm of the U.S. Department of Defense, hopes one of seven teams will be able to turn into an life-saving emergency responder in disasters.
ATLAS is one of the most advanced humanoid robots ever built, according to DARPA. The robot has two sets of hands, 28 hydraulic joints, stereo cameras and a laser range finder. It was created by Boston Dynamics.
As part of the DARPA Robotics Challenge program, the seven teams will have until late December 2013 to program the robot so that it can successfully interact with its environment.
The teams will compete to see who best programmed the robot to drive a utility vehicle through an obstacle course, navigate an another obstacle course on foot, remove debris from an entrance, climb a ladder, break through a wall, turn on and off valves, and use a fire hose.
ATLAS must accomplish these tasks without constant human control. DARPA is looking for some fancy algorithms, not a big remote controlled bot.
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube, below: