The Pentagon's robotic cheetah is the fastest mechanical mammal ever built

18 miles an hour may not seem terribly fast, but that's the new land record for legged machines. This speed was clocked by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) robo-cheetah project, which is investigating technologies that allow machines to traverse terrain in new unique ways. Explains DARPA of this metal cat:

The "Cheetah" robot galloping at speeds of up to 18 miles per hour (mph), setting a new land speed record for legged robots. The previous record was 13.1 mph, set in 1989 [...] The current version of the Cheetah robot runs on a laboratory treadmill 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. Testing of a free-running prototype is planned for later this year.


It's not clear why the Department of Defense needs a robotic cheetah, but would you really expect them to relinquish classified details of any real-life Voltron projects?

[Via Danger Room]

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"Fastest mechanical mammal..." How can anything mechanical be a mammal?