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October 4, 2013

Pentagon robot escapes

Untethered 'WildCat' is let off the leash

By Cbr Rolling Blog

Last year, DARPA unveiled Cheetah: a robot that could run faster than Usain Bolt.

According to Boston Dynamics, who is developing all these awesome biological-inspired robots for DARPA, the US military advance research arm, Cheetah can go up to 28.3mph. Usain ran at a maximum speed of 27.78mph during his 2009 100-meter world record, according to data from the International Association of Athletics Federations. And while Cheetah can maintain its speed for as long as it has power, a puny human can’t.

Dr. Alfred Rizzi, technical lead for the Cheetah effort and Chief Robotics Scientist at Boston Dynamics, says that "achieving 28 mph on the treadmill is quite a challenge and accomplishment, for which I commend our robotics team. But 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."


Well guess what, they’ve just made the outdoor version – and it can roam wherever it wants. Be afraid!

Say hello to WildCat, version 2.0 of the original Cheetah. This robot is based on the same design as Cheetah, but doesn’t have the tethered power cable of its predecessor; but rather an motor that keeps it running.

That extra weight does means it can’t quite match the pace, Cheetah can reach 28mph, while WildCat can only manage 16mph. But that’s still faster than most of us can run. And remember, WildCat can keep up that speed for as long as it motor runs, which humans definitely can’t.

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These robots look terrifying; I wouldn’t like one chasing after me. Just wait until the day they develop artificial intelligence, then hide. End times could soon be upon us, Terminator style!

Like reading about robots? Check out my other articles on robots in space, mechanised jellyfish killers and my top 5 sci-fi robots with real-life counterparts.

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