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China’s H1 humanoid just broke the robot speed record

Published Mar 20th, 2024 7:05PM EDT
AI robot
Image: phonlamaiphoto/Adobe

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The world of robotics has seen a number of advancements in recent years. The work coming out of companies like Boston Dynamics continues to be exciting, and we’ve even seen the development of more humanoid robots like China’s H1. Now, though, the robots are starting to break the robot speed records set for them by earlier models, putting them one step closer to matching humanity’s capabilities.

Of course, I could sit here and spend this entire article droning on and on about the future of robotics and how robots that can move as fast as humans are going to attack and overthrow humanity. But there’s more than enough doomsaying out there when it comes to robotics and AI. So, instead, let’s just marvel at the really cool fact that engineers built a humanoid robot that can reach up to 3.3 meters per second (around 7.4 miles per hour).

That’s a huge accomplishment. Getting robots up to these speeds requires perfect proportions and a lot of moving parts that work together seamlessly. And Unitree, the company behind the H1 robot, claims it can even reach speeds of up to 11 miles per hour, almost five more MPH from what we’re seeing in the video above.

Additionally, the new H1 robot showcases just how important it is for engineers to continue striving to break records like the robot speed record to push the development of this kind of tech further. It also shows that humanoid robots can be used effectively in robotic designs, though it definitely seems we still have a ways to go.

The previous robot speed record was set by Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot. But, the H1 was able to kick things up a gear and move an entire 2 miles per hour faster. Something that is no small feat given all the moving parts related to this creation. That said, the video showcasing the new robot running at its maximum speed is a bit Black Mirror

It’s hard not to look at it and see all the horrors that the media have painted in our heads about the future of robotics and how they are going to take over the world. For now, at least, we can rest easy knowing that humans are still faster. Though, the margin of difference certainly seems to be growing smaller.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.