If you are a roboticist and you want to work with humanoids but you don’t want to build a robot from scratch, PAL Robotics would be happy to sell you one. The Spanish robot maker is introducing a new option that improves on its REEM humanoids: TALOS is a 32-degrees-of-freedom, 1.75-meter-tall, 100-kilogram robot designed for dynamic walking, heavy lifting, and (eventually) assisting humans with all of those tasks that we really don’t want to be doing.
PAL Robotics designed TALOS with the intention of having the robot “work on physically demanding and accurate tasks performed under hostile or uncomfortable industrial settings,” according to PAL CEO Francesco Ferro. This means that the robot is not just a research platform—it’s going to start out in research, as many robots do, but PAL hopes it can transition into doing useful tasks in the real world, a thing that humanoid robots in general aren’t known for.
Right out of the box (and we assume it’s a pretty big box), TALOS can walk at 3 km/h, it can handle traveling over irregular surfaces, and its battery can keep it running for up to 3 hours (depending on what the robot is doing). The robot is powered by ROS (hooray!), and full EtherCAT communications allow its internal networks to run control loops in the kilohertz range. It has 7-DoF arms, each of which can lift an impressive 6 kilograms at full extension. It’s modular and upgradeable in both hardware and software.
The first TALOS (named Pyrène) is already hard at work at the Laboratory for Analysis and Architecture Systems (LAAS-CNRS) in Toulouse, France.
Full-size humanoid robots are a tricky business, so we asked PAL Robotics what the story is behind TALOS.
We believe that our environment is tailored to us, humans, and as such, in the long term, we will need a robot that is able to adapt to our human environments. TALOS has been on our roadmap for a while and we are glad that we were able to work with LAAS-CNRS to have this first unit available and working already for research purposes. It has really proven to be a huge engineering challenge for us and we are very satisfied with the end result.
PAL Robotics hopes that within the next five years, TALOS will be working side by side with humans doing manipulation in industrial applications. Longer term, there’s potential for working in search and rescue, or in other areas where it’s too dangerous to send humans. It’s this kind of thing that TALOS is ideal for, and that’s reflected in the cost—at something around €1 million, the best place for a robot like this is where a robot like this is the only safe option.