Robot cheetah sets speed record for legged robots: VIDEO

The United States' military research arm and a private research company have built a robot cheetah that has set the speed record for legged robots, and may have potential applications very soon.

The robo-cheetah can run up to 18 mph, breaking the previous record of 13.1 mph set in 1989 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to Boston Dynamics, which built the robot with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

"While the M3 (Maximum Mobility and Manipulation) program conducts basic research and is not focused on specific military missions, the technology it aims to develop could have a wide range of potential military applications," DARPA said.

But it hinted one such use may involve ground robots in military explosive-ordinance-disposal missions.

"If the current limitations on mobility and manipulation capabilities of robots can be overcome, robots could much more effectively assist warfighters across a greater range of missions," it added.

A separate article on Wired.com said the robot Cheetah is designed to mimic the rapid movements of flesh-and-blood cheetahs.

Wired.com also noted the 18 mph speed is "much, much faster than any average human jogger."

"Robo-Cheetah even comes pretty close to trouncing the human world-record holder, Usain Bolt, who clocked an amazing 28 mph during the 100-meter sprint in 2009," it added.

It also noted the robot’s spine is flexible - a characteristic that helps a cheetah run rapidly.

Wired.com said that while DARPA has not specified military applications for the robot, the robot cheetah is being designed to “zigzag to chase and evade.”

It also quoted DARPA as saying the robot cheetah could also be useful for “emergency response, firefighting, advanced agriculture and vehicular travel.” — TJD, GMA News

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