March 6, 2012
DARPA Robot Sets Land Speed Record
[ Watch the Video ]
DARPA released a video on Monday of its Boston Dynamics-built robot setting a new land speed record for legged robots at 18-miles-per-hour.
In the video, the "Cheetah" robot is galloping at speeds of up to 18 mph, breaking the previous legged robot land speed record of 13.1 mph in 1989.
DARPA said the robot's movements are patterned after cheetahs, increasing its stride and running speed by flexing and un-flexing its back on each step.
They told Popsci they see no reason why their robot will not someday run as fast as the real cat, reaching speeds up to 70 mph.
Currently, the robot runs on a laboratory treadmill and is powered by an off-board hydraulic pump. Cheetah uses a boom-like device to help keep it running in the center of the treadmill. The Cheetah robot will perform its first untethered, free-running test later on this year.
"If the current limitations on mobility and manipulation capabilities of robots can be overcome, robots could much more effectively assist warfighters across a greater range of missions," DARPA said in a press release.
DARPA said its Maximum Mobility and Manipulation (M3) technology its developing could have a wide range of potential military applications.
"The use of ground robots in military explosive-ordinance-disposal missions already saves many lives and prevents thousands of other casualties," DARPA said.
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