Humans may remain pathetic creatures of meat and bone, but the era of the almighty humanoid terminator is not yet upon us. CNBC recently got an opportunity to test-drive South Korean firm Hankook Mirae Technology’s really cool looking Method-2, which just so happens to be the very bipedal robot that aspiring post-apocalyptic warlord Jeff Bezos got into on stage at Amazon’s annual robotics conference last year.
At the time, some were sceptical that the 3.96m, 1.6-ton robot, which CNBC reported has now surpassed a price tag of $US100 ($129) million, could actually walk or is just an elaborate hoax. It didn’t help that Bezos only used it to wave around his arms a lot, creating the impression of a really expensive puppet.
— Caleb Harper (@calebgrowsfood) March 20, 2017
CNBC’s footage shows that the Method-2 is capable of walking around – kinda? Some prior video showed that the thing was capable of slowly rotating in a circle, while this time it’s sort of shuffling forward, taking baby steps. In other words, it does not seem as though the thing is making much progress towards its goal of exterminating all humans, or like, even climbing over rocks. The newer video shows it’s still tethered to its harness, perhaps because in the likely event it fell over, it would do serious damage to either vehicle or operator; CNBC noted the legs are controlled not by the pilot but remotely by “the robot’s engineers.”
(I still very much want to drive it.)
In any case, were one to file any bets about what kind of ambulatory war machine is likely to start rebelling against its human masters first, I would recommend betting on Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini robo-dog. It is absolutely far more capable of getting around on four legs than the Method-2. Like velociraptors, it’s figured out how to open doors, and it’s only a matter of time until it figures out how to get past obstacles like hockey sticks.