Sprinting robot outpaces Usain Bolt and hits 45.5 km/h
Machines have overtaken humans in yet another activity. Sprinting has gone the way of quiz shows, driving and mining now that a robot has run faster than Usain Bolt.
Five months after setting the land speed record for a robot with legs, Boston Dynamics’s Cheetah has outstripped the fastest of humans, clocking 45.5 kilometres (28.3 miles) per hour over a 20-metre stretch.
That’s a shade faster than Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt. He set the land-speed record for a human back in 2009 by running 44.7 km/h over a 20-metre stretch during the 100-metres final of the World Athletics Championships in Berlin, Germany.
Much like a real cheetah, the robot uses a short, hopping gait at low speeds before increasing its stride and pace by flexing its back with each step.
But it doesn’t take much insight to see that Bolt is still streets ahead of the robot competition in every way that matters. Cheetah ran its time on a treadmill, and needs a tether to supply power and keep it upright, something Usain Bolt does without.
Boston Dynamics is developing an outdoor version of the Cheetah, dubbed Wildcat, which is due to begin testing next year.