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Can you outrun it? DARPA's WildCat robot gallops at 16 mph

This mechanized hellspawn can run around beautifully, while new footage of a robot mule and humanoid show them devouring challenging terrain.

WildCat: Not what you want to see in a parking lot.
Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET

Boston Dynamics seems like a company full of friendly, intelligent folks. One wonders why these good people seem dedicated to creating terrifying robots.

Their latest mechanized hellspawn is WildCat, a military quadruped machine that can chase you at speeds up to 16 mph.

OK, it isn't chasing people yet. But it seems designed to scare the wits out of us poor meatsacks.

If it weren't for its noisy go-kart engine, WildCat would be a serious contender for Megatron's favorite pet.

Boston Dynamics hasn't updated its Web site with info on WildCat yet, but it states the following in its YouTube video description of the unholy beast:

"WildCat is a four-legged robot being developed to run fast on all types of terrain. So far WildCat has run at about 16 mph on flat terrain using bounding and galloping gaits. The video shows WildCat's best performance so far. WildCat is being developed by Boston Dynamics with funding from DARPA's M3 program."

That would be the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Maximum Mobility and Manipulation Program, designed to boost robots' mobility in natural environments while enhancing their design, fabrication, and control.

WildCat seems like a smaller, lightweight version of Boston Dynamics' notorious AlphaDog, an all-terrain brute designed to carry equipment for soldiers. But it's not as quick as its tethered predecessor Cheetah, also designed by Boston Dynamics for DARPA, with a top speed of 28.3 mph -- faster than Usain Bolt.

Check out the vid below of WildCat in action. You can almost hear the "Chariots of Fire" theme during the slow-motion sequences.

Meanwhile, the company uploaded a new video showing the LS3, a robotic mule that can carry 400 pounds over 20 miles while following a human guide, being tested on hilly desert terrain in California as well as deep snow in Boston.

Finally, there's fresh footage of Boston Dynamics' Terminator-like Atlas robot, which was unveiled earlier this year. The 6-foot, 330-pound humanoid, which may or may not be a future robot infantryman, is designed to use tools and walk over rough terrain.

Check it out stomping over several boxes of rocks like nobody's business, and then standing on one foot while being hit with a swinging weight.

Of course, it laughs on the inside at these pathetic human challenges.