XBot-L Humanoid Robot Becomes First To Climb Great Wall Of China

With over 17 years of writing experience, Jonathan has had a passion for all things tech-related, ever since watching Inspector Gadget as a child. He's disassembled countless appliances and managed to put a few back together, and one still works. When not writing, he can often be found playing video games or accidentally hurting himself in the garage.

Developed by Robot Era, XBot-L is a humanoid robot capable of bipedal traversal on foot. It recently became the first humanoid to tackle the Great Wall Of China—climbing stairs, navigating guard towers, and not falling down—at least not in the video. However, based on that duct tape around its waist and the fact its leg covers are missing in several of the shots, I suspect it fell at least a couple of times. Those cuts just got edited out.

Using Robot Era’s proprietary reinforcement learning (RL) technology, XBot-L is able to autonomously navigate forward (sometimes in a zig-zag), avoiding hazards and adjusting on the fly to tackle uneven terrain. The humanoid even passes through the dimly lit guard towers, where low light levels offer an additional challenge to robotic navigation.

“Perceptive RL algorithms help to strengthen the robot’s perceptive and decision-making capacity in the face of unfamiliar terrains,” Yue Xi, co-founder of Robot Era, said in a statement. “The robot thus can recognize complex road conditions and adjust its walking stance in a timely manner.”

Did the robot walk the entirety of the Great Wall’s 13,171-mile length? Of course not; I imagine it only covered a tiny portion of that, likely not even a full mile. Still, it was the first humanoid to navigate any of the wall at all, and you have to start somewhere. Me? I like to start about 9/10’s finished, and preferably on a downhill slope.

[via NewAtlas]

Journalist at Technabob | Website | + posts

With over 17 years of writing experience, Jonathan has had a passion for all things tech-related, ever since watching Inspector Gadget as a child. He's disassembled countless appliances and managed to put a few back together, and one still works. When not writing, he can often be found playing video games or accidentally hurting himself in the garage.