Check out the world’s fastest robot – can it even outrun Usain Bolt? (video)

7 Sep 2012

The Cheetah robot. Image by Boston Dynamics

A four-legged robot by the name of Cheetah that has been built by MIT spin-out Boston Dynamics, recently clocked up a speed of 44.7 km/h during testing, breaking its own speed record of 29 km/h, which means it apparently has the capability to even outrun the world’s fastest human, sprinter Usain Bolt, according to its makers.

The robot, which is being developed and tested under DARPA’s [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency] Maximum Mobility and Manipulation programme by Boston Dynamics, recently got some revamps, including improved control algorithms and a more powerful pump, to help it surpass its past land-speed record of 29 km/h – the world’s fastest sprint record for a robot.

As you can see from the following video, the Cheetah robot achieved a peak speed of 45.5 km/h for a 20-metre split.

Citing the International Association of Athletics Federations, the makers of the robot point to how Bolt set the world speed record for a human in 2009 when he reached a peak speed of 44.7 km/h for a 20-metre split during the 100-metre sprint.

However, DARPA did point to how the Cheetah robot would have had a slight edge over Bolt because it ran on a treadmill.

Via robots such as Cheetah, DARPA is aiming to pioneer such technology to be used in future Department of Defense missions. Later this year, Boston Dynamics is aiming to start testing a free-running Cheetah.

Here’s a look at the robot in action. Would Bolt take it on?

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic