A U.S. venture called Apptronik has just taken the wraps off its newest product: The Apollo humanoid robot. The company, which has been mostly working on research and development projects with exoskeletons and two-legged movement for the US government and Department of Defense, is stepping into the commercial humanoid space.

Founded in 2016 by CEO Jeff Cardenas, CTO Nick Paine, and advisor Luis Sentis at the University of Texas at Austin’s Human Centered Robotics Lab, Apptronik had previously introduced a commercial humanoid torso research platform called Astra in late 2020.

Apollo, standing at 5 feet 8 inches (172 cm) and weighing 160 lbs (72.5 kg), can lift up to 55 lbs (25 kg) and is expected to have a 4-hour battery life with a swappable battery.  The design was developed by argodesign, envisioning a balance between complexity and approachability.

The humanoid represents the culmination of over 13 generations of electric actuators created by Apptronik. The linear actuator design in the joints is said to be a unique aspect that reduces material costs, enhances reliability, and streamlines support.

Apptronik is initially focusing Apollo’s applications on “gross manipulation” tasks — such as warehouse activities involving moving boxes and crates; these tasks don’t require intricate hand dexterity. Although hands are important for a humanoid’s long-term versatility, Cardenas suggests they’re not the primary focus for Apptronik at the moment.

Image: Apptronik

Safety as a priority

Safety is a priority, with Apollo using vision perception and force sensing to slow down as humans approach, and it has a built-in safety procedure to minimize damage if it starts to fall.

Cardenas envisions Apollo as a multipurpose robot that can perform various tasks, with an emphasis on working alongside humans in real-world environments. The aim is to make Apollo collaborative, adapting to human presence and spaces while delivering value across different industries.

Price and Availability

The pricing details haven’t been disclosed yet, but it’s hinted to be in the range of a new car. The company aims to launch Apollo by the end of 2024.

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