Sept. 6 - A robotic cheetah designed for the US military, has broken its own speed record for a running robot, clocking 28.3 mph (52.4 kph) on a treadmill. The record beats its previous top speed by more than 10 mph (19 kph) and sets up field tests for a free-running cheetah later this year. Ben Gruber reports.
Usain Bolt is fast, but the Cheetah Robot from Boston Dynamics, is even faster. Built for the US Military to one day transport equipment in combat zones, the robot is being developed to mimic the speed and agility of cheetahs in the wild. It has a flexible spine which allows it to increase its running speed with each step. The current version is powered by a hydraulic pump and kept centred on the treadmill by an extending arm attachment. The cheetah accelerates slower than the human world record holder, but, by reaching a sustained top speed of 28.3 mph, the machine set a new land speed record for a robot narrowly edging Usain Bolt's fastest recorded speed.. They want their Cheetah robot to eventually go more than twice as fast, with an ultimate goal of 70 mph. Boston Dynamics say a free standing prototype will be tested in the field later this year.