A Boston Dynamics engineer has designed a robot to mimic the running motions of a cheetah. This is the same company behind the military’s Bigdog robotics project, the future robotic work mule for the military. This project was a military-funded experiment to examine the motion of cheetahs to create a robot that has more fluid and life-like motions.
The robot, while military-funded, does not have any filed use at this moment. This robot is a major improvement over the old record, going at 18mph. The previous robot’s land speed record was 13.1 mph in 1989. The robot runs on four legs. In a video released showing off the robot’s motions, it shows the robot has a fully flexing spine allowing it to gallop, reaching speeds a robot has never reached before.
The robot is far away from being in the field. The cheetah lacks an attached power source. The cheetah relies on tethered cables that help provide the robot with power and stability as it runs at 18mph. Researchers from Boston Dynamics say that this is merely the tip of the iceberg in what they could be capable of as they model robots after real-world animals.
Later this year the cheetah will have its first untethered test run. This test run will prove the feasibility of the bot in the field. The robot could have a large number of military applications.
Robots are becoming more vital to military actions. Drones now cover the skies as spies or fighters, unmanned bots work to defuse bombs, and full-sized human type robots test biohazard gear. This cheetah-styled robot could be a valuable resource to soldiers; it could be a ground-based combat unit or a swift moving communications bridge. Enjoy the video below showing the robot in full action as it breaks the speed record on a treadmill.