I Can't Stop Laughing At These Ski Robots Falling Down

If you saw that video of a robot skillfully opening a door yesterday, you might think that the robot uprising is just around the corner. But this new video of skiing robots falling on their faces might help you sleep at night. Or at least give you a good laugh.

The video comes from the Ski Robot Challenge in South Korea outside of PyeongChang 2018 yesterday. This week's robot ski event was held at the Welli Hilli resort in Hoenseong, about an hour's drive from the actual Olympic games.

And there are few things funnier than robots falling down. The last DARPA Robotics Challenge in 2015 was great for robot fail videos and GIFs. But humanity has largely been deprived of hilarious robotic failures in the past couple of years. We've mostly been faced with the terrifying reality of robot backflips and super-human agility.

This week's robotic skiing competition, which is not an official event at this year's Olympics, is just what the doctor ordered for puny humans such as ourselves who want to feel superior while we can. There's something about watching a robot crash into a fence that's just so damn satisfying.

Eight teams competed, under rules that said all robots had to be at least 50cm tall, have two legs, and operate on an independent power system. And despite a handful of impressive runs, there are always bound to be some failures when you try to do something that's typically reserved for elite athletes.

Take this sloppy robo-skiier, which is my favourite failure of the bunch. The robot starts by just ploughing over a flag and then heading straight for a fence. Poor guy.

I realise that ridiculing robots will make me one of the first human targets during the robot uprising. But I can't help it. Watching these robots fall down is hilarious. You can watch a great compilation on YouTube.

Yes, there were some amazingly talented robot teams showing off their robots yesterday. But watching the successful ski runs will just remind you that we'll all be dead soon by the cold, hand of a robot.

Which robot won? TaekwonV from a company called Minirobot Corp reportedly took home the $US10,000 ($12,717) prize, successfully navigating the course in just 18 seconds. As CNET notes, the winning robot is named for a robot in the 1976 South Korean animated film Robot Taekwon V.

The robot future is here, I guess, but most of the bots aren't off the bunny hill yet. And that's just fine with me.

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