Austin-based robotics startup Apptronik has unveiled its latest humanoid robot named Apollo. Standing at 5-feet, 8-inches tall and weighing 160 pounds, Apollo is designed to handle “dull, dirty, and dangerous” jobs so that humans can be spared from these tasks. The robot utilizes electricity instead of hydraulics, making it safer to work alongside humans. Its four-hour battery can be changed out, allowing it to operate for a 22-hour workday.
One of the main focuses during Apollo’s design process was to create a robot that appeared friendly and approachable to humans. Apptronik outfitted Apollo with digital panels on its chest that display information about its battery life, current task, and future actions. The robot also has intentional movements, such as turning its head to indicate where it will go.
While the initial goal for Apollo is to work in logistics, particularly inside warehouses to improve the supply chain, Apptronik has a long-term vision to build versatile robots that can eventually explore the moon, Mars, and beyond. The team behind Apptronik, which originated from the Human Centered Robotics Lab at the University of Texas at Austin, believes that time is humans’ most valuable resource, and it is limited.
Apollo’s design is rooted in its predecessor, Valkyrie, a NASA robot. Apptronik spent years building unique robots and components that culminated in a humanoid robot capable of functioning in environments designed for people. The goal is for Apollo to be the “iPhone of robots,” capable of performing thousands of different tasks.
Apptronik aims to be in full commercial production of Apollo by the end of 2024. The robot will start in factory and warehouse settings, performing simple tasks like moving boxes and pushing carts. Over time, Apollo’s functionality will increase through new models and updates, enabling its use in construction, electronics production, retail spaces, home delivery, and even elder care.
At the core of Apollo’s design are its actuators or “robot muscles,” which allow the robot to walk, flex its arms, and grasp objects like a human. Apptronik engineers aimed to simplify complexity, allowing Apollo to perform basic actions and activities with around 30 different muscle groups.
Apptronik envisions a future where general-purpose robots like Apollo will play a crucial role in managing tasks that are considered “dull, dirty, and dangerous” for humans. These robots will not only improve efficiency and productivity in various industries but also hold the potential for exploration beyond Earth.
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