DARPA has released a new performance video of the military's robot cheetah, conveniently named The Cheetah, and a new 28.3 mph top speed means the military robot cheetah set a speed record.
Back in 2009, Usain Bolt set the world record for performance in the 100 meter dash, finishing in 9.58 seconds with an average land speed of 23.35 mph. During one portion of the race, Bolt actually managed to reach a top speed of 27.78 mph - the fastest-ever documented run time by a human. Of course, most of us will never accomplish the speeds that Bolt does, but it's easy to believe in the natural travel superiority of man over machine when you think Big Dog is your biggest threat. Turns out, we were wrong.
Enter, The Cheetah. Built by engineers from Boston Dynamics, in conjunction with the Pentagon, the quadrupedal robot first made its debut in March 2012. In the first video released by DARPA, only a month after the project's announcement, The Cheetah set an 18 mph land speed record for legged robots. That shattered the previous record, only 13.1 mph, set 23 years ago by MIT's Planar Biped in 1989. Given that, with only 6 months of additional work, the robotic monster increased its performance by 10 mph, Boston Dynamics could potentially have their nightmare machine performing at their goal of 60 -70 mph as early as 2014!
In a press release, touting The Cheetah's recent achievements, Boston Dynamics is quick to remind the world that their creation had numerous advantages over the world-renowned athlete. Most notably, the lack of wind drag thanks to an in-door treadmill, and the lack of an on-board power supply. But the team has already begun work on an outdoor successor to The Cheetah, currently called The Wildcat, which they hope will outperform its predecessor upon completion. They expect testing to begin sometime early next year.
Unfortunately, there's no word yet on when Boston Dynamics expect to start sending the machines back in time to eliminate their competition. We'll keep you updated though.
In the meantime, check out the The Cheetah's performance for yourself: