Modern day robots are not known for their grace, ease of movement, or speed, but Boston Dynamics' WildCat is here to change all of that.
In the early stages of the WildCat, the robot clocked in at 0.5 miles per hour faster than Usain Bolt, the fastest man on Earth. This speed was clocked by the prototype version known as Cheetah, which you can see in the video below, along with more information on the Cheetah robot.
The Cheetah robot is the fastest legged robot in the World, surpassing 29 mph, a new land speed record for legged robots. The previous record was 13.1 mph, set in 1989 at MIT.
The Cheetah robot has an articulated back that flexes back and forth on each step, increasing its stride and running speed, much like the animal does. The current version of the Cheetah robot runs on a high-speed treadmill in the laboratory where it is powered by an off-board hydraulic pump and uses a boom-like device to keep it running in the center of the treadmill. The next generation Cheetah robot, WildCat, is designed to operate untethered. WildCat recently entered initial testing and is scheduled for outdoor field testing later in 2013.
Cheetah robot development is funded by DARPA’s Maximum Mobility and Manipulation program.
With the version we see now known as WildCat, the robot has gone wireless, removing the power cable and allowing for autonomous movement, albeit at a reduced pace. Without the power cable and the increased weight of the new motor, WildCat can only reach a speed of about 16 mph, which it can sustain as long as the motor is running.
WildCat is another impressive robotic advancement from Boston Dynamics, who have a number of intriguing robot designs, which we took a more in depth look at in the link provided. You can check out their website which also has a lot of great information on their various amazing yet terrifying robotic projects.
Boston Dynamics builds advanced robots with remarkable behavior: mobility, agility, dexterity and speed. We use sensor-based controls and computation to unlock the capabilities of complex mechanisms. Our world-class development teams take projects from initial concept to proof-of-principle prototyping to build-test-build engineering, to field testing and low-rate production.
Organizations worldwide, from DARPA, the US Army, Navy and Marine Corps to Sony Corporation turn to Boston Dynamics for advice and for help creating the most advanced robots on Earth.
Do these newer, better, faster, stronger robots frighten or intrigue? Are we looking at the beginning of SkyNet or The Positronic Man? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images/Video: Boston Dynamics