A video of NASA’s RoboSimian robot is going viral once again, reminding us all that watching the ape-like bot exit a car never gets old. Watching RoboSimian leave a vehicle also, unfortunately, never gets any less unsettling. Because there’s something about seeing a bipedal droid slowly turn into a quadruped that just seems so wrong.
Driving may not require AGI, but getting out of the car does. pic.twitter.com/h4kxGFGDGH— Lex Fridman (@lexfridman) August 12, 2020
Artificial intelligence researcher and podcast host, Lex Fridman, posted the above clip of RoboSimian’s vehicular departure. Fridman, who hosts an eponymously named podcast, wrote in his post that, “Driving may not require AGI, but getting out of the car does.” The AGI Fridman’s referring to is artificial general intelligence. Although he’s kidding, as RoboSimian definitely does not possess any of that.
For those who are unfamiliar with RoboSimian, it’s a robot that was developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the DARPA Robotics Challenge. RoboSimian, who’s also referred to as “Clyde,” first appeared at the 2013 Robotics Challenge. The bot took 5th place in the competition, which aimed to find the best bots for helping in disaster scenarios.
Despite the 5th place finish, RoboSimian is still a gem of a robot. Not only is the bot able to exit like a boss, but it can also perform numerous other tasks. In the video immediately above, RoboSimian shows of its ability to do everything from turn shutoff valves to open doors.
For more background on the DARPA challenge, check out Fridman’s interview with Russ Tedrake. Tedrake, a robotics researcher at MIT, has taken part in the challenge, and describes how hard it is to even get a robot in a car.
What do you think about RoboSimian and its smooth yet creepy way of exiting a vehicle? And how do you think “Clyde” compares to Boston Dynamics’ Atlas? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Feature image: JPL-Caltech