Boston Dynamics, the robotics company owned by Alphabet has revealed its latest humanoid robot, and this time it’s on wheels.
The robot, called “Handle” moves around on two tire-like wheels, one on its left side, one on its right, instead of using two legs to simulate walking like a bipedal robot such as Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot.
Boston Dynamics says the reason for the hybrid design is the simplicity it affords: rather than needing the complex joints of the fully-quadrupedal bots, Handle’s wheels can speed it around with little difficulty, while its front legs can be used for balance and for carrying loads of up to 50kg.
“Handle uses many of the same dynamics, balance and mobile manipulation principles found in the quadruped and biped robots we build,” Boston Dynamics said, “but with only about 10 actuated joints, it is significantly less complex. Wheels are efficient on flat surfaces while legs can go almost anywhere: by combining wheels and legs, Handle can have the best of both worlds.”
The video does not, however, show Handle walking rather that scooting around on its wheels.
Last year Bloomberg reported that Alphabet was seeking to sell Boston Dynamics.