A robotic “Cheetah” developed by Pentagon’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has broken speed records. The robot runs on a laboratory treadmill, powered by an off-board hydraulic pump and uses a boom-like device to keep it running in the centre of the treadmill.
It clocked a speed of 18 mph, setting a new land speed record for legged robots. The previous record was 13.1 mph, set in 1989.
The robot’s movements are patterned after fast-running animals. It increases its stride and running speed by flexing and un-flexing it’s back on each step, much as an actual cheetah does.
DARPA plans to test run the prototype later this year. The technology “could have a wide range of potential military applications,” said the Agency in a press release. “If the current limitations on mobility and manipulation capabilities of robots can be overcome, robots could much more effectively assist in warfighters across a greater range of missions.”
The robot was developed with the help of Boston Dynamics in Waltham, Massachusetts under the Maximum Mobility and Manipulation (M3) programme of DARPA, which seeks to create and demonstrate significant scientific and engineering advances in robot mobility and manipulation capabilities.
DARPA sponsors revolutionary, high-payoff research to bridge the gap between fundamental discoveries and their military use. It helps US military to maintain its technological superiority and prevent technological surprises from harming the national security.