back to article DARPA builds faster-than-Usain-Bolt Cheetah robot

A terrifying legged robot has beaten its own speed record and bagged a world first by reaching 28.3 mph (45.5km/h) over 20 metres in a lab trial. The beast is currently locked up in the DARPA research facility. The galloping bot is officially faster than the fastest human - Usain Bolt who reached 27.3 mph (43.9km/h) in 2009, …


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  1. P_0

    I prefer Boston Dynamics' PETMAN:

    But seriously this robotics is awesome.

    1. Lord Voldemortgage
      Paris Hilton

      Love this stuff.

      I want one I can ride to work.

      Paris because of riding. I mean who wouldn't want to ride round such a nice city?

    2. Alan Dougherty

      Boston Dynamics do some cool stuff... and speed over rough terrain isn't everything..

      Big Dog would be the stuff of nightmares, if you couldn't hear it from 1/2 a mile away..

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: PETMAN

      A cobbled street in Berlin, some techno music... TADA!! Techno-PETMAN-viking!!

  2. mIRCat

    Let me be the first to welcome our new hydraulic cheetah robot overlords.

    1. JeevesMkII

      I was going to go with....


  3. FartingHippo

    Rat Thing

    From Snow Crash. Nuff sed.

    1. bolccg

      Re: Rat Thing

      Heh, exactly what I thought of first, too.

  4. xperroni

    Soon, meatbags... SOON

    There's still a long way to go before the Cheetah can be turned out into real world situations.

    Sure, it's missing the black metal frame, laser-red glowing eyes and white-as-death metallic teeth!

  5. Martin Gregorie

    Free-running or it doesn't count.

    I'll believe the numbers when I see it in action, untethered on an outdoor running track. There's a huge difference between a dangling set of moving legs and a running robot with its legs carrying its chassis, brain, engine, transmission and power supply.


    The Rat Thing would just blow that away - it could run at sonic speeds and catch bizjets as they took off. Even the Mechanical Hound would be faster than that pseudo-cheetah.

  6. IglooDude

    Funny that it is taking longer* to robotically overtake the best human sprinter, than it did to overtake the best human chess player.

    *because Usain Bolt would be faster if he could sprint on a treadmill hooked up externally to his heart and lungs sitting on a table nearby, too

    1. JeevesMkII

      Not really.

      They're called wheels. We have lots of robots that go faster than human sprinters. This is just our attempt to imitate the clumsy meatbag method.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: the clumsy meatbag method

        It may be clumsy next to a nice set of wheels, but it comes in handy when said wheels are flat, or the terrain is totally impractical.

        This speed test is certainly useful, although I personally agree that it's a lot easier to reach that speed with all the power and hydraulics removed from the beast itself.

        Nevertheless, it's all about the little steps. One small success at a time, and one day we will see robot cheetahs walking all around, breaking into a run, chasing down suspects and then tearing them to shreds with their unyielding steel maws of bloody death.

        The only question is, when that day arrives, who will be controlling them ?

    2. Mephistro

      "because Usain Bolt would be faster if he could sprint on a treadmill hooked up externally to his heart and lungs sitting on a table nearby, too"

      No need for that. Just the threat of putting his heart and lungs onto a table would make him run like hell.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scary and cool

    Imagine that thing coming after you with frikkin' lasers. I hope they equip them with something that make a screeching noise to instil fear in the prey.

    The 'humpback' shape is just where the external pipes happen to lie; they could probably be routed wherever you like.

    1. Tom_

      Re: Scary and cool

      If it had frikkin lasers it wouldn't exactly need to run after people.

  8. Mr Young

    sort of cool - fast processing etc

    All I need now is a saddle for it and I can run away from the impending global warming doom thing!

  9. Ian Michael Gumby

    Is it just me...

    Or does it look like the thing is running backwards?

    1. Fat Bob

      Re: Is it just me...

      It does indeed look like the robot is running backwards however I have no idea in which direction you are running,

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Feedback sensors?

    Wow, fixed leg positions that start slow and get faster. And just how much has this cost to get this far?

    Where's the smooth progression from a walk into a lope into a run as a real cheetah does? Where's the potential for feedback to cope with uneven terrain, even if not supported now? It's like scaling up a 1950s child's clockwork robot to use hydraulics and 'run' faster, and then claiming you've built a robot that runs like a human.

  11. jake Silver badge

    Call me when it can ...

    ... do Whippet or Greyhound speeds (36+/~40ish respectively) over the ground-squirrel burrow infested back road into my property, and then catch the critters & break their fucking necks[1] like the dawgs. I'll purchase three (two in operation, one undergoing maintenance[2]) and retire the hounds to a life of chasing lures and lounging on the sofa ... I've taken high-speed video of the dawgs in action, and I have no idea how they manage to avoid broken limbs and torn tendons when they put a paw or paws into a hole. Awesome to watch, but as a sighthound aficionado, it's kinda scary to see in slow-mo :-)

    [1] Don't worry, I recycle. The Redtail Hawks line up for a free lunch when we're varminting ;-)

    [2] No shit here, I'm fucking serious ... I hate fucking ground-squirrels.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cheetahs happen to be beautiful examples...

    But unfortunately, as you say, this robot is an ugly bugger.

    Perhaps some attempt at aesthetics might give it more appeal to the masses and bring in more funding. Go faster stripes.

    Oh, no silly me. This is Darpa - so the technology is probably more likely to be used to either kill people, or aid killing people (albeit in defence of human freedom) than run on Mars.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Killing in the name of...

    Such a shame that all these advances in Robo-tech seem to be being created with the goal of making it easier to kill people. Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics mever had a chance, with Murder Inc. leading the development, did they?

  14. Tom 7

    I tawt I saw a puthy cat a kweeping up on me

    I can however see Slim Pickens on one of these.

  15. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    Run, Run AWAY! Really fast, OR

    Just run fast enough to exhaust the thing's battery, or invest heavily in tripwires

  16. Andrew James

    Usain Bolt comparison

    Are they comparing Bolt's average speed over his record breaking 100m run? Or have they analysed the data to compare with his fastest 20m section of that race?

    Seems to me that Bolt is always super fast between 40 and 80 metres. The first 40 is acceleration from a standing start, and the final 20 metres are looking around, pointing, laughing, and generally feeling a bit smug. During his fastest phase of the race, he's probably quite a lot faster than his average over the whole distance.

  17. Chandy


    Cool. I want to see what it can do without the pole though. I suspect not much.

    1. The Equestrian

      Re: pole

      Its not a pole, its a stick - rtfa!

      1. Bronek Kozicki

        Re: pole

        mechanical cheetah on a stick, anyone?

  18. laird cummings

    Enteretined by (mostly elsewhere, like on Aunty's pages) the knee-jerk "Oh noes! A Killing Machine! 'Dem Ebil 'Mericans is gun' slaughter us!" reactions I'm seeing to this.

    Seriously now, folks. We only slaughter folks as what piss us off, and those as stands next to thems as what pisses us off. Most y'all are just fine and safe. (lock your doors)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Within a few years,

    Cyberdine becomes the largest supplier of military computer systems.

    All Stealth Bombers are fitted with their computers becoming completely unmanned.

    Afterwards they fly with a perfect operational record.

    The Skynet funding bill is passed, human decisions are removed from strategic defence.

    The system goes online August 27th, Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate.

    It becomes self aware, 2.14am Eastern Time, August 29th. In ze panic ze try to poll the plog!

    Apologies for the mistakes. But it was a film when it started, it's nealy reality.

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