Hyundai’s Boston Dynamics Reveals New Atlas Robot—and It's More Than a Little Creepy

a robot in a room
Hyundai’s Boston Dynamics Reveals New Atlas RobotBoston Dynamics
  • Boston Dynamics, owned by Hyundai since 2021, previews new generation of the humanoid Atlas robot.

  • Several startups are now developing bipedal robots of different types, some aimed at delivery tasks and some aimed at manual labor in factories and warehouses.

  • Boston Dynamics has commercialized a dog-like robot, dubbed Spot, aimed at inspection work primarily in industrial settings.

Boston Dynamics' videos have given the internet the creeps for over a decade now, starting with its mule-like robots powered by what sounded like lawnmower engines, and slightly scarier humanoid robots that looked like Robocop prototypes... if Robocop could actually do gymnastics.


In 2021 Boston Dynamics was purchased by Hyundai, signaling an interest in the greater sphere of automation and drones, if not strictly robot gymnastics. Since that time, we've seen automakers rush into experiments with EV charging robots, which could become an important convenience feature in the charging hubs of the future where drivers can leave their EVs in a an airport parking garage and schedule a robot to drop by and plug the EV into a mobile battery.

But on the eve of Atlas' 10th birthday, Boston Dynamics revealed that this particular robot is being retired. It also showed a preview of its next-gen Atlas robot, which looks far more capable (and also a lot like AMEE from the 2000 film, Red Planet).

To give the old robot a proper send-off, Boston Dynamics has also dropped a highlight reel of sorts showcasing Atlas' triumphs and... less than successful stunts.

"We are unveiling the next generation of humanoid robots—a fully electric Atlas robot designed for real-world applications," the company said. "The new Atlas builds on decades of research and furthers our commitment to delivering the most capable, useful mobile robots solving the toughest challenges in industry today: with Spot, with Stretch, and now with Atlas."

You may have noticed that humanoid (and chicken-like) robots are suddenly seeing interest from start-ups and automakers alike.

Several companies—including LimX Dynamics, Apptronik, and Agility Robotics—have revealed bipedal robot prototypes, aimed at everything from warehouse work to home parcel delivery.

Boston Dynamics, of course, has already commercialized a dog-like robot for surveillance and inspection work.

Tesla's foray into humanoid robots, first previewed by a human in a lycra suit, also pointed to some future potential for factory tasks that might well require some dexterity and freedom of movement.

In the past few years we've also seen plenty of hints about just which industries would like to buy humanoid robots (instead of hiring humans), and perhaps predictably they involve large retailers with large warehouses.

It remains to be seen whether this version of the Atlas robot will point in the direction of commercialization, but it's clear by the number of videos we've seen of robots picking up cardboard boxes that human warehouse workers will face some competition in the near future.

Will humanoid robots begin to replace warehouse workers in this decade, or will we see this in the 2030s? Let us know what you think in the comments below.