The Cheetah robot developed by Boston Dynamics has set a new legged-robot speed record, and actually tops out at speeds that would leave Usain Bolt behind — barely.
On Wednesday, the robot maker published a new video of the Cheetah breaking its own record by hitting an incredible 28.3 mph, or just a touch faster than Usain Bolt at his fastest. The previous land speed record by a legged robot was 13.1mph.
Right now the robot is powered externally and is attached to a tether so it doesn’t fly off the treadmill and damage the lab when it stumbles, as it does at the end of the video.
The robot’s movements have been modelled on those of fast-running animals in the wild. The machine is designed to flex and un-flex its back to increase the length of its stride.
Its creator says that an untethered, outdoor version will be tested early next year. DARPA is providing the funding, perhaps hoping to create fast-moving legged robots for drone or gunnery platforms.