Robotics

DARPA's CHEETAH smashes legged-robot speed record

DARPA's CHEETAH smashes legged...
DARPA's quadruped CHEETAH robot has broken the land speed record for legged robots by reaching a gallop of 18 mph on a treadmill
DARPA's quadruped CHEETAH robot has broken the land speed record for legged robots by reaching a gallop of 18 mph on a treadmill
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DARPA's quadruped CHEETAH robot has broken the land speed record for legged robots by reaching a gallop of 18 mph on a treadmill
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DARPA's quadruped CHEETAH robot has broken the land speed record for legged robots by reaching a gallop of 18 mph on a treadmill

It's been a very little over a year since Boston Dynamics was awarded a contract to develop a high-speed robotic quadruped by DARPA, but already the defense tech research agency's investment is bearing fruit, having announced that its CHEETAH galloping quadruped robot has broken the land speed record for robots with legs.

A video released by DARPA appears to show CHEETAH running on a treadmill at speeds of up to 18 mph (29 km/h), a speed which smashes the previous record of 13.1 mph (21 km/h) with an improvement of more than a third. The toppled champion is MIT's Planar Biped, whose alternating gait set the prior standard in 1989.

Though the robot might more resemble a frightened rabbit when galloping at full tilt, DARPA claims CHEETAH has more in common with the cheetah than name alone, taking its cues from the big cat and other fast-running animals by flexing its back to increase stride and speed.

One thing to note is that CHEETAH is currently dependent on off-board hydraulics for power (hence the need for a treadmill). Considering this fact, as well as that running seems to be CHEETAH's only ability, "robot" is being used in a loose sense by DARPA, unable as the machine is to sense its environment or act autonomously. However, it's hoped that an untethered free-running prototype will be tested later in the year, so CHEETAH is taking steps towards autonomy.

The military hopes that improved robot mobility will enable robots to assist across a broader range of missions, and DARPA's M3 program (Maximum Mobility and Manipulation) of which CHEETAH is apart is working towards precisely that.

Of course, CHEETAH has some way to go before it challenges the record of its namesake, the cheetah - itself the land speed record holder for animals, reaching speeds of up to 70 mph (113 km/h) over short stretches.

You can see the CHEETAH in motion and breaking records in the video below.

Source: DARPA

DARPA Cheetah Sets Speed Record for Legged Robots

20 comments
Gabriel Grove
oh God... now they can chase you...
Jim Parker
I wonder what would happen if you added a four-foot tail to that. And reversed the direction of the leg joints. A cat's hip rotates much farther than that, and it's ankle extends much farther, all the way behind. Completely different kind of gait.
Denis Klanac
Imagine your car getting chased by one of these.
PrometheusGoneWild.com
It would be very scary. Until its extension cord pulled out of the wall.....
Mr Stiffy
When I was a Ladde I read a book called "Fahrenheit 451" (Ray Bradbury 1953) - and this creature comes right out of that, pursuit robots called "The Mechanical Hound" designed to kill people with lethal injections...
Poisons that made them laugh while they died - all broadcast on TV.
The crime? - reading books.
Buy the book.....
Powerful reading.
Bill Bennett
Mr Stiffy,, I agree, Guy Montag was great, and Oskar Werner was well cast for the movie, and yes the book was of course better, Regards, Bill
Jay Temkar
Agree with Jim Parker. Not flexible enough. But this is 1st version. Next versions will be more fast, powerful and flexible. An autonomous Quadrobot fitted with GPS, Cameras, Radars and Guns will be lethal combination. This is the baby version of Decepticons in transformers.
jonoxn
Maybe if it looked less demonic it wouldn't have to run so fast to catch up to those running in fear.
Dawar Saify
If the legs on the right had their knee bend in the other direction. it wouldn't look like it's moving backwards. Is this for testing armour too?
Jay Finke
i want to ride it.. wee