Boston Dynamics' bio-inspired robot breaks land speed record

Boston Dynamics’ Cheetah robot has set a new land speed record for legged robots by running at speeds of up to 18mph (29km/h). The previous record was 13.1mph, set in 1989.

The bio-inspired robot, developed as part of DARPA’s Maximum Mobility and Manipulation (M3) programme, is said to increase its stride and running speed by flexing and unflexing its back on each step, much like a cheetah.

The current version of the Cheetah robot runs on a laboratory treadmill, where it is powered by an off-board hydraulic pump, and uses a boom-like device to keep it running in the centre of the treadmill. Testing of a free-running prototype is planned for later this year.