A four-legged robot called the Cheetah, whose development was funded by the Pentagon, has run 28.3 miles per hour in an experiment run by the US military research arm.
The world record for the 100 meter dash was set by sprinter Usain Bolt in 2009, averaging 23.35 mph for a time of 9.58 seconds. Over a 20-meter stretch, he managed to get up to 27.78 mph.
This makes the Cheetah faster than Bolt.
The Cheetah – a quadrupedal machine built by master roboteers, Boston Dynamics and backed by Darpa, the defense department’s far-out research division topped Bolt’s record-setting time, and also managed to beat its previous top speed of 18 mph (set in a previous experiment).
“To be fair, keep in mind that the Cheetah robot runs on a treadmill without wind drag and has an off-board power supply that it does not carry,” a Boston Dynamics press release read. “So Bolt is still the superior athlete.”
The company is looking to improve upon the limitations by modifying the Cheetah.
“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,” said Dr. Alfred Rizzi, the technical lead for the Cheetah effort.