NASA, General Motors, and Oceaneering Space Systems have been working for the past three years on the next evolution of NASA’s robot astronaut Robonaut, which was unveiled to the world February 3rd, 2010. Robonaut2 boasts unparalleled strength for a humanoid robot, capable of holding and lifting up to 9kg (20 lbs) in each hand, even with its arms outstretched. This should allow it to perform work that other humanoid robots cannot, both in space and on Earth, where it is expected the technology may be used in GM plants. The hands of the original Robonaut were developed by the Shadow Robot Company, but it seems as though the new robot features custom manipulators. R2 also sports a much cooler helmet design and a less frumpy overall appearance compared to its predecessor.
What NASA sees as a partner in human space exploration, GM sees as innovation in car safety systems (such as its vision, sensing, and control technologies). The previous version of Robonaut began development in 2000 by NASA with funding from DARPA, but never made it into space. A couple of videos and some images follow after the break.