That’s not my headline. That’s JPL’s headline. And when JPL talks about something busting a move, you know it’s gonna be good. This robot is called ATHLETE (All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer), and although we first wrote about it over two years ago, it’s great to see an update. This latest version of ATHLETE actually consists of two entirely independent three-limbed robots that attach to each side of a cargo pallet and then operate as a single system. The wheels may look small, but ATHLETE is designed to traverse pretty much any terrain on Earth (or any other planet); if its wheels get stuck, it just uses its limbs and starts to walk. The limbs also function as arms: on the inside of each axle is a quick-disconnect adapter that can select a tool off of the base of the robot to let it do things like sample collection or even construction. Look for ATHLETEs in the near future (let’s hope) on the lunar or Martian surface, helping to unload and transport cargo over challenging terrain.
[ ATHLETE ]