Boston Dynamics robot Atlas runs and leaps through parkour-style obstacle course

Is it cool or creepy? Boston Dynamics' Atlas the robot is back to further humble humanity. The YouTube robot sensation famed for previously performing backflips has now mastered the art of parkour, an athletic discipline derived from obstacle course training used by the military.

The robot's control software uses its whole body -- legs, arms and torso -- to jump over a log and then leap up steps more than a foot high each, all without breaking pace. Atlas' computer vision helps it locate visible markers and find its footing, according to Boston Dynamics.

Parkour Atlas by BostonDynamics on YouTube

Spun off from MIT more than a quarter of a century ago, Boston Dynamics was purchased in 2013 by Google, which has since sold the robotics pioneer to the Japanese tech conglomerate Softbank for an undisclosed sum.

Boston Dynamics also drew attention earlier this year with the release of a video showing a mechanical dog opening a door. 

Increasingly sophisticated robots have spurred concerns about the implications for the future, including a robotic workforce and being weaponized to conduct warfare.  

On a less fearsome note, Sony's robotic pooch Aibo was recently released in the U.S.