Based in Hangzhou, outside Shanghai, Unitree Robotics was founded in 2017 by Xing Wang with the mission of making legged robots as popular and affordable as smartphones and drones are today.
In a showcase of the heavily Boston Dynamics-inspired company's recent progress, it has released a video showing its four-legged robot A1 balancing in a yoga-like pose.
A1's athletic ability
“Marc Raibert … is my idol,” Wang once told IEEE Spectrum about the president and founder of Boston Dynamics.
While the famous robotics company serves as inspiration for Unitree Robotics, the Chinese company wants to make “make quadruped robots simpler and smaller, so that they can help ordinary people with things like carrying objects or as companions,” Wang told IEE Spectrum.
In order to instill this accessibility into their A1 robot, Unitree Robotics, made it weigh only 12 kg — just under half the weight of Boston Dynamics' Spot robot, which weighs 25 kg.
Quadruped robot A1 is running with you to the future. 😃— Unitree Robotics (@UnitreeRobotics) April 29, 2020
Maximum outdoor running speed：3.3m/s(11.88km/h).
Maximum torque of each joint is 33.5NM.
Weight (with battery) 12kg.
Integrated RGBD camera and wireless video transmission.
Price Less than $10k. pic.twitter.com/cdZVbd4D3I
Starting at under $10k it is also substantially cheaper than Spot, which comes with a hefty $74,000 price tag.
The future of robotics?
As can be seen below, A1 is capable of many party tricks, much like Boston Dynamics' Spot robot. Much in the same way as Spot, A1 has excellent stability and can perform athletic maneuvers such as a backflip.
The robot can also autonomously target and follow a vehicle or person as well as autonomously avoid collisions. While these types of robots are awe-inspiring, to say the least, here's hoping their creation doesn't lead to a Skynet-style apocalypse.