Robot makers at Boston Dynamics have unveiled their latest military-funded creation: a four-legged machine called WildCat that bounds and gallops across the ground in an uncannily animal-like way.
A new video shows off the robot's ability to run to at 16 mph (25 km/h) on flat surfaces. Boston Dynamics has not released much new information on their new bot, but a caption on the company's YouTube page says WildCat will eventually be able to run quickly over all types of terrain.
WildCat is a free-running version of one of Boston Dynamics' earlier quadruped creations called Cheetah, a frighteningly fast robot that could sprint, on a treadmill at least, up to 28.3 mph (45.5 km/h). That's 0.5 mph faster than Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man. Though WildCat is slower than its predecessor for now, it is does not need to be tethered to a treadmill to strut its stuff.
Boston Dynamics has also built a four-legged, headless "LS3" robotic mule that can carry up to 400 pounds (181 kg) of equipment for soldiers on a 20-mile-long (32 kilometers) trek without refueling. That robotic packhorse was created as a quieter, faster and tougher version of the DARPA-funded "BigDog" robot made famous in viral videos showing it trudging through the woods and snow and staying upright even after being kicked by a person.
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