Looks like GM builds more than just cars. As if living in the future wasn’t already cool enough (or creepy enough, depending on who you ask), GM has partnered up with NASA to build a strong, dexterous, humanoid robot to work alongside people at the International Space Station.
The Robonaut 2 (aka R2) will launch into space in September for testing and experiments within the ISS’s Destiny laboratory. Developers hope that in time the R2 can function as a “stand-in for astronauts during spacewalks or for tasks too difficult or dangerous for humans.” In the meantime, the R2 will undergo intense vibration, vacuum, and radiation testing to ensure its safety in space.
The Robonaut 2 boasts amazing innovations, including the ability to perform complex tasks. Its hand dexterity and overall strength make it capable of lifting and holding a 20 pound weight, far more than most other humanoid-style robots. Future developments may allow the R2 to move freely around the space station or even on the outside of it in space.
GM also believes the R2 could be used to increase vehicle safety and improve both safety and efficiency in the manufacturing process. Says Alan Taub, vice president of GM global research and development: “The work done by GM and NASA engineers also will help us validate manufacturing technologies that will improve the health and safety of our GM team members at our manufacturing plants throughout the world.”
What do you think about the R2 and GM’s technological partnership with NASA?