12/07/2013 14:04 BST | Updated 11/09/2013 10:12 BST

US Military Develops Six-Foot Tall Atlas Humanoid Robot (VIDEO)

At this point claiming various American robots and drones to be terrifying, amazing and/or potentially catastrophic is something of a tech blog cliche. That said, this six-foot-tall humanoid machine built by the US Department of Defense is definitely all of these things.

Atlas is the latest project by DARPA and Boston Dynamics, who have also been behind such wonderful robots as Petman and the running robotic cheetah.

The robot has 28 articulated joints, and can reportedly engage in tasks required in a disaster response scenario.

Its destiny is to compete in DARPA's Robotics Challenge, in which seven teams will use their code to program Atlas and see how well it copes.

Darpa says:

Like coaches starting with a novice player, the teams now have until late December 2013 to teach ATLAS the moves it will need to succeed in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Trials where each robot will have to perform a series of tasks similar to what might be required in a disaster response scenario.

The ultimate aim is to build a humanoid which can navigate rough terrain, drive a car and help out with any task that might be required in a disaster zone.

Six other teams and two Nasa crews have built their own robots, which will also compete in the challenge.