Jonathan Hurst


Agility Robotics creates legged robots that achieve walking and running gaits with revolutionary agility, robustness, and energy economy. We enable this achievement through the intelligent combination of design and controls.

Company Overview: Founded in 2015, Agility Robotics is commercializing co-founder Jonathan Hurst’s internationally recognized achievements in dynamic legged locomotion. Based on technology licensed from the Oregon. State University Dynamic Robotics Laboratory, Agility Robotics’ patented approach enables robots to move through challenging environments using a minimum of energy. Our laboratory prototype demonstrated stable walking over uneven terrain while using no more than 400W of power, a breakthrough achievement in legged locomotion.

Innovation Overview: Bipedal dynamics, for both walking and running, can be approximated using a simple bipedal spring-mass model.  We have extended this theory to implementation, and demonstrated for the first time on any machine a walking gait that matches animal dynamics.  As a result of this approach, along with informed integration of controls with mechanical dynamics, our prototype robot ATRIAS is efficient, requiring only 500W; stable, handling rough terrain easily without external sensing; and versatile, transitioning smoothly between speeds from a walk, to a run, to a stop.

Market Analysis: The unmanned autonomous vehicle market is currentlydominated by two types of technologies: wheels (unmanned ground vehicles, UGVs) and wings (unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs). In 2014, these combined markets represented a $7.9B/yr market opportunity, projected to rise to $20B/yr by 2025. At present, there are no commercially available legged unmanned vehicles. 

Opportunity: Because of power limitations, aerial vehicles have limited payload and flight times; conversely, ground vehicles have traditionally been limited to terrain amenable to wheeled travel. By introducing a third class of propulsion – highly efficient bipedal legs – Agility Robotics will enable unmanned vehicles to move through terrain inaccessible to any currently available UGV with mission times and payloads greatly in excess of most UAVs.

Business Model: Agility Robotics will initially generate revenue by designing, testing, and licensing referencelegged locomotion platforms for federal research agencies. We will be simultaneously developing in-house manufacturing capacity towards product offerings in home & industrial automation, package delivery, military and civilian surveillance, and agriculture.

Competitors: Very few companies have demonstrated successful legged robots. Boston Dynamics, acquired by Google in 2013, was known for Big Dog and Cheetah, two quadruped robots. However, the fundamental approach used for these machines requires impractically large amounts of energy. Honda has a long history of developing bipedal robots, most notably Asimo. However, their technology is power-inefficient and incapable of handling outdoor terrain.

Competitive Advantage: Agility Robotics is negotiating an exclusive license from Oregon State University forthe patented technology derived from co-founder Hurst’s research. Our robots are 10-100x more energy efficient than competing designs and robust enough to tackle the unpredictable nature of the real world.

Key Personnel: 

Jonathan Hurst, Co-Founder & CTO Damion Shelton, Co-Founder Mikhail Jones, Co-Founder
Director, OSU Dynamic Robotics Laboratory Co-founder & CTO of threeRivers 3D                                 




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