A robot buddy is set to team up with Russian cosmonauts on outer space adventures by the year 2021. FEDOR, which stands for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research, is a humanoid robot designed for manned missions.
FEDOR can operate a drill, drive a car, turn a wheel, and even complete push-ups (sans sweat, thankfully). Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s deputy prime minister, shared a video on Facebook of FEDOR responding to voice commands, suggesting cosmonauts will be able to talk with the bot on their mission.
Rogozin has previously stated that he hopes Russia’s robot research will lead to military solutions, where one robot will be able to do the work of up to 10 combatants. A May 2014 video shows this work progressing well, with the bots firing a machine gun in a prerecorded video. FEDOR does not fire a gun in the video, and it’s likely that if the bot is intended for space, it hasn’t been taught how to kill. However, the bot’s capabilities shows Russia’s robotics research is progressing along well.
The project may have some competition from NASA. In November 2015, the agency gave two six-foot, 290-pound robots to MIT to conduct experiments. The robots may form the basis of a future mission to Mars, with the robots setting up the initial colony before humans later join to populate.
Although Russia’s robot will be used on manned missions, it will likely play a vital role in helping cosmonauts conduct missions, where scientists typically depend on several pairs of hands to get the job done.
Watch the bot in action here: