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Boston Dynamics, the makers of Big Dog, have received more funding from DARPA. This time they are working on a robot inspired by a cheetah, as shown in the image here.
Marc Railbert, the president of Boston Dynamics, had this to say about the Cheetah robot:
There’s no fundamental reason why it can’t go as fast as the animals (60 to 70 mph), but it will take a while to get there.
Right now, the goal is to produce a Cheetah like robot in 20 months that can go at 20 – 30 mph. The robot will also be able to make tight corners and stop abruptly. As of yet, there is no specific use for the Cheetah robot. DARPA just wants the technology developed and then will find a use for it. I wonder who would win in a race, the Terminator or the Cheetah? I think that all depends on if Boston Dynamics ever gets the robot to run 70 mph, then it would be time to be afraid, very afraid, of the robots.
Boston Dynamics, makers of the BigDog robot have won another contract worth $32 million from DARPA to make an LS3 or Legged Squad Support System.
Each LS3 will carry up to 400 pounds and run for 20 miles or 24 hours. The press release states:
The program goal is to develop a walking quadruped platform that will augment squads by carrying traditional and new equipment autonomously. These platforms will be capable of managing complex terrain where tactical vehicles are not able to go—lightening the load of Marines and Soldiers and increasing their combat capability.
The first prototype is expected in 2012 and is shown here in a mock up from Boston Dynamics.
Here is the PDF DARPA press release.
Boston Dynamics, makers of Big Dog, have been developing Petman. Just like Big Dog, it has the ability to remain upright when pushed. Petman will be used by the US military for testing chemical protection clothing to be worn on soldiers.
What makes Petman so interesting is the realistic human gait and heel to toe walking, just like us humans.
The robot, called the Precision Urban Hopper, is semi-autonomous and GPS-guided. It could potentially be used for urban surveillance by the military.
The Precision Urban Hopper is scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2010 and should be able to jump 25 feet high at that time.
Check out a video from the BBC here.