In March, we reported that Boston Dynamics and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)‘s Cheetah bot had shattered the world speed record for legged robots with a running speed of 18 mph. At the time, that was 4.9 mph faster than the former record which was set back in 1989, but the Cheetah’s team has just announced that the robot can run faster 0.5 miles per hour faster than the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt! Watch a video of the cheetah robot in action after the jump.
According to Boston Dynamics, the Cheetah can now run at an impressive speed of 28.3mph. In comparison, Usain’s top speed is 27.78mph, set during his 2009 100-meter world record. To make things worse for Bolt, the Cheetah can maintain that speed, whereas a human runner would eventually need to take a break.
The current design is dependent on an off-board hydraulic pump, but a free-running prototype is planned for later this year. The team also hopes to make the next model capable of ‘zigzagging’ in order to aid ‘chasing and evading’.
In a statement, Dr. Alfred Rizzi, technical lead for the Cheetah effort and Chief Robotics Scientist at Boston Dynamics, said that “achieving 28 mph on the treadmill is quite a challenge and accomplishment, but our real goal is to create a robot that moves freely outdoors while it runs fast. We are building an outdoor version that we call WildCat, that should be ready for testing early next year.”
Images: Boston Dynamics and thor_matt83