It looks like a futuristic toy that one might see in a movie. But it’s actually real. The Defense Department's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has recently developed a robot that can run up to 18 mph. While 18 mph may not sound like a dazzling amount, it is 5 mph faster than the previous record set in 1989, and it is significantly faster than the average jogger.
The news release on DARPA’s website says,
"The robot's movements are patterned after those of fast-running animals in nature. The robot increases its stride and running speed by flexing and un-flexing its back on each step, much as an actual cheetah does."
The video here shows the “cheetah” robot running on a laboratory treadmill powered by an off-board hydraulic pump and using a boom-like device to keep it running on the treadmill. DARPA says that it will test a free-running prototype later this year.
Certainly, the DARPA M3 performer for Cheetah could have many military uses for emergency response, firefighting, advanced agriculture and more. DARPA has not yet revealed the intended use for this prototype.