Robotics

Walking robot takes first steps into the market

Walking robot takes first step...
There are already several buyers lined up for Cassie robots
There are already several buyers lined up for Cassie robots
View 2 Images
There are already several buyers lined up for Cassie robots
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There are already several buyers lined up for Cassie robots
Other legged robots may follow, once Cassie production ramps up
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Other legged robots may follow, once Cassie production ramps up

Some day in the not-too-distant future, an autonomous delivery van may pull up in front of your house. A bipedal robot will then step out, and carry a package to your front door. That scenario is envisioned by Jonathan Hurst, an associate professor of robotics at Oregon State University, and chief technology officer of spin-off company Agility Robotics. To that end, his group has developed an ostrich-like two-legged walking robot … and it's called Cassie.

First of all, Cassie isn't intended to make deliveries in its present form. It's intended more as a developmental platform, to be utilized by other robotics companies and research institutes. In other words, a Cassie-derived robot may eventually come strolling up your front walk.

The team used a previous Oregon State-designed bipedal robot, ATRIAS, as its jumping-off point when designing Cassie. "ATRIAS had motors that would work against either other, which was inefficient," notes Hurst. "With Cassie, we've fixed this problem and added steering, feet, and a sealed system, so it will work outdoors in the rain and snow as we continue with our controller testing."

Additionally, Cassie weighs about half as much as its predecessor. And no, it's not specifically intended to look like an ostrich – although the group did make a point of studying bird legs as a means of achieving agility, efficiency and robustness.

Other legged robots may follow, once Cassie production ramps up
Other legged robots may follow, once Cassie production ramps up

Plans currently call for initial production to take place at Agility's facilities in Albany, Oregon. Other legged robots may follow, once Cassie production ramps up.

"We want to be able to design and build machines that can go anywhere that a human can go, and run on about the same amount of energy," says Hurst.

Cassie can be seen in action, in the video below.

Sources: Oregon State University, Agility Robotics

Cassie - Next Generation Robot

14 comments
JeffCollins
Maybe invent one to teach robotics next!
Milton
so awesome. These guys are doing to 2 legs what Boston Dynamics has done with 4.
TonyKeyworth
Isn't the ultimate problem with robot delivery systems that go door to door going to lie in making them human proof ? A crook who might not attack a human being is likely to feel far less qualms about taking out what is in reality just a piece of moderately intelligent machinery.
Marco Gonzalez
Call DARPA AT-ST are here. A very elegant design but much like in the Star Wars movie from the video it looks like is no capable of negotiating rubble or stairs like Atlas or Asimo counterparts
Mihai Pruna
Here's my idea: the battery will be the heaviest part of the robot. If you can make the battery , or a couple of batteries, into flywheels, you can gyroscopically stabilize the robot and use less energy than constantly moving the actuators in the legs.
PlanetPapi
Great work. Appreciate all the hard work that goes into it. From a layperson(me) perspective, why limit them to humanistic movements? Why does it have to "walk"? Easier to roll with wheels, right? Are we proving that this robot is better than the other in terms of how advanced it is to walk like a human? Am I missing something?
Paul Anthony
Put axles and wheels at the joints and you can squat down onto the wheels and more efficiently drive around your package popping up on legs to get upstairs or over other obstacles. I'm pretty sure that wheels are much more efficient than legs as far as speed and energy expended.
McDesign
I really like the idea of batteries as a flywheel - why not take advantage of the weight? Beautiful idea - and I are an en-gin-ear!
FabianLamaestra
Just a few steps away from ED-209!
DouglasAnkrum
...Boston Dynamics just released video of bi-ped with two small wheels for feet.......it can move around pretty fast, and leap over 2 foot wall....