The boffins at DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) have pushed its Cheetah robot to a whole new level.
The Cheetah is a four-legged robot that looks like, well, a cheetah. It has a flexible spine and an articulated head. A tail may come later.
The intentional use of the Cheetah is to use its phenomenal speed and ability make tight turns, as a rescue robot. It is imagined that the Cheetah will be able to assist in rescue situations plus, to help reach and fight fires.
The Cheetah’s previous best raw speed record was 18 miles per hour (28.97 km per hour). This new Cheetah Personal Best (CPB – I just made that up) is 28.3 miles per hour (45.54 km per hour) in a 20 metre split.
Usain Bolt, our fastest ever human, clocked 27.78 mph (44.7 km per hour) in 2009.
OK, so the Cheetah had the slight advantage that it ran on a treadmill and Usain didn’t.
What is for certain though, is that this robot can out run all of us. But, hopefully we manage to stop with a little more elegance.