DARPA and Boston Dynamics create another terrifying robot

Move over Big Dog — the Cheetah robot has just outpaced Usain Bolt.

Move over Big Dog — the Cheetah robot has just outpaced Usain Bolt.

Cheetah in action. (Credit: DARPA)

Previously, we'd assumed that Big Dog was the most terrifying robot we'd seen — strutting its way through the uncanny valley of movement. Something about its jerky high-stepping pace just seemed to predict humanity's end.

Well, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) main mission to usher in the final days for mammalian life has gained a burst of speed, thanks to Cheetah, another robot being developed under the Maximum Mobility and Manipulation (M3) program by Boston Dynamics.

Cheetah has been clocked at a maximum speed of 28.3mph, or 45.5km/h. As DARPA gleefully point out on its YouTube page, Usain Bolt's world record speed was 27.78mph, or 44.7km/h.

Cheetah has a little way to go before it lives up to its namesake, of course — real cheetahs have been clocked at over 96km/h. But while you watch the video, just imagine yourself frantically scrambling for your life, peeking over your shoulder to see Cheetah speeding towards you. It's a moment of prescience.

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