A MIT robot modelled after the cheetah has become the first four-legged robot to autonomously jump over obstacles.
While Cheetah has been able to jump over obstacles for some time, the bot is now able to do so entirely autonomously, making a series of complex calculations and adjustments to clear objects without breaking stride.
Cheetah has mastered the hurdles by using laser distance sensors to assess the environment and the distance to and height of an obstacle, adjusting step length and leg thrust to jump over it.
While it may have all the grace of a lumbering sheep when jumping lower obstacles, it lives up to its namesake with the higher. As you can see here, when clearing a 40 cm-high obstacle at 2.4 m/s, no stumble or awkwardness is apparent, and Cheetah becomes formidable.
Cheetah’s developers hope it will save lives someday. With moves like these, that seems a likely possibility.
Robotic cheetah image, via Shutterstock