Behold the Cheetah Robot. The Singularity is nigh!

March 6, 2012 | Source: Bloomberg Businessweek
Cheetah Robot

Cheetah Robot (credit: Boston Dynamics)

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding Boston Dynamics’ development of a prototype robot called the Cheetah.

The cat-like bot managed to gallop 18 mph on a treadmill, setting a new land speed record for legged robots. (The previous record: 13.1 mph, set at MIT in 1989.)

The company has a prototype human-like robot in the works called the Atlas that can walk upright and use its hands for balance while squeezing through narrow passages on surveillance or emergency rescue missions.

It could achieve 40 mph and someday serve as a “scout robot,” and “maybe deliver some payload”; it also could be useful in emergency rescue and civilian disasters, the company says.