Robotics

Video: Boston Dynamics' new quadruped Wildcat tears up the tarmac

Video: Boston Dynamics' new qu...
Unlike Cheetah, WildCat has to balance itself without the aid of a stabilizing boom arm and carries its own power source
Unlike Cheetah, WildCat has to balance itself without the aid of a stabilizing boom arm and carries its own power source
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Boston Dynamics engineers prep WildCat for an outdoor demonstration
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Boston Dynamics engineers prep WildCat for an outdoor demonstration
WildCat can gallop at speeds up to 16 mph (25.7 km/h) on flat ground, faster than any other quadruped robot created to date
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WildCat can gallop at speeds up to 16 mph (25.7 km/h) on flat ground, faster than any other quadruped robot created to date
WildCat is being developed with funding from DARPA as part of its Maximum Mobility and Manipulation program
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WildCat is being developed with funding from DARPA as part of its Maximum Mobility and Manipulation program
Here, WildCat loses its footing and nearly falls onto its back but manages to right itself
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Here, WildCat loses its footing and nearly falls onto its back but manages to right itself
Cheetah, WildCat's prototype, managed even faster speeds, so its possible that WildCat will get even faster in the future
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Cheetah, WildCat's prototype, managed even faster speeds, so its possible that WildCat will get even faster in the future
Unlike Cheetah, WildCat has to balance itself without the aid of a stabilizing boom arm and carries its own power source
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Unlike Cheetah, WildCat has to balance itself without the aid of a stabilizing boom arm and carries its own power source
Boston Dynamics' other major quadruped, the LS3, is being field tested in several locations across the United States
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Boston Dynamics' other major quadruped, the LS3, is being field tested in several locations across the United States
Here, the LS3 follows a human up a steep hill strewn with rocks
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Here, the LS3 follows a human up a steep hill strewn with rocks
The LS3 has no problem going both up...
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The LS3 has no problem going both up...
...and down rocky inclines, all while carrying 400 pounds (181 kg) of gear
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...and down rocky inclines, all while carrying 400 pounds (181 kg) of gear
The LS3 was tested in cold weather outside Boston Dynamics' headquarters
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The LS3 was tested in cold weather outside Boston Dynamics' headquarters
Here, the LS3 plows through a snow bank that comes up above its knees
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Here, the LS3 plows through a snow bank that comes up above its knees

Boston Dynamics, the company behind DARPA's most advanced legged robots such as PETMAN, BigDog, and Atlas, has unveiled the free-roaming version of their sprinting robot Cheetah. The new robot is called WildCat, and it's already galloping at speeds up to 16 mph (25.7 km/h) on flat ground.

Boston Dynamics is participating in DARPA's Maximum Mobility and Manipulation (M3) program, which seeks to build robot systems that can move quickly in natural environments. To that end, it first developed a prototype called Cheetah that broke all speed records for legged robots last year. Cheetah was capable or reaching 28 mph (45 km/h), but it was tethered to an external power source and had the benefit of running on a smooth treadmill while being partially balanced by a boom arm. At the time, Boston Dynamics said it was working towards a free-running version of the robot, but it wasn't until a few hours ago that they finally blew the lid on it.

WildCat not only gallops, but can bound and turn circles as well. And, when it loses its footing during the demonstration and nearly flips over, it comes to rest with all four feet on the ground not much worse for wear. Being that this is still fairly early in its development, the quadruped's powerful motors don't so much purr as scream, but as we've seen with Boston Dynamics' other robots they can dampen the noise later. For now, its work is focused on getting the robot up to speed.

Currently Boston Dynamics has yet to update its website with WildCat's technical details, but we'll keep you updated as they roll in. For now, enjoy the somewhat terrifying glimpse into the future in the following video:

Introducing WildCat

The LS3 is also making progress

The company also shared a new video of its LS3 quadruped, or Legged Squad Support System, romping through the hills of Twentynine Palms, California. Unlike the WildCat, the LS3 doesn't move quite as fast, but that's because it can carry 400 lbs (181 kg) of gear. You can see that robot following a human leader up a steep, rock-strewn hill and plowing its way through a snowbank in the new video below.

Sources: Boston Dynamics, DARPA

Legged Robot Testing in Desert

12 comments
Τριαντάφυλλος Καραγιάννης
Terrible... Please attach an Akrapovic or a Yoshimura and then it'll run a lot better :)
Leonard Foster Jr
Scary!!!
Nairda
In video 1, I like the WildCat's transition from looking really goofy while bobbing around at first, to scary life like galloping at speed. One thing. Bigdog and the WildCat have different knee orientations on their hind legs. In ultimately combining the two into the ultimate walking/running animal, what leg configuration will work best.
David R Aldridge
Wow just wow
Rokdun Johnson
They look sort of cute and creepy at the same time... Impressive though. Loved it when it was gently following its master on the hillside :-)
Mel Tisdale
Just the thing for silently creeping up on the enemy!
Jay Finke
Ah yes the smell of 2 stroke in the morning, But does it float ? And where does one acquire the funding for projects like this, I'm ready !
Forward Thinker
Now all it needs is a saddle
MG127
it looked like it was running backwards, considering how the legs are positioned
Dieter
Wonderful "animal"! Hope you don't have to put it down when it breaks a leg!