If Robots Could Fly … Boston Dynamics Pranks Customers

In an April Fools’ post, the robotics company announced it was giving its Atlas robot the power to fly

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

April 9, 2024

2 Min Read
Boston Dynamics' Facebook post
Boston Dynamics' Facebook postBoston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics tricked customers with an April Fools’ post on social media announcing its collaboration with jet pack developer Gravity Industries, in an alleged project to give its bipedal robot Atlas the power to fly. 

A Boston Dynamics’ spokesperson confirmed in an email to IoT World Today that the post was indeed an April Fools' joke.


According to the spoof post, possible applications for flying robots include lost balloon rescue and window washing, as well as in-air traffic controls and wildfire monitoring. 

“Trials of the new technology are already underway, with test flights commencing over Boston Harbor,” the company wrote. “As part of the research and development phase, Atlas will begin participating in Gravity’s new racing series alongside human athletes.”

“With so much global interest in new applications for quadrupeds and humanoids, we decided it was time to push the envelope,” said Marc Theermann, Boston Dynamics’ chief strategy officer. “Walking on the ground almost seems easy these days, so we’re taking our innovation to the skies.” 

“We’re making science fiction a reality,” said Richard Browning, Gravity’s CEO. “This is the closest most of us will ever come to feeling like a superhero, and we can’t wait to see all the places Atlas will be flying in the next few years.”

Related:Boston Dynamics Humanoid Robot Prepares for Automotive Duties

While the collaboration may be false, Gravity’s jet packs and international competition are very much real, taking place each year in Dubai and designed to “make human flight a reality.”

The announcement followed real news of Atlas’ progress, with a February update from Boston Dynamics showcasing Atlas’ object recognition capabilities and dexterity as it prepares for deployment in automotive factories.

In a video update, Atlas was shown picking and placing automotive struts, and footage of its internal vision system demonstrated how it interprets and navigates its environment. 

“Our humanoid robot gets ready for real work combining strength, perception and mobility,” the team said.

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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