The Pentagon isn’t always concerned with outsmarting bad guys and finding weapons of mass destruction. Who knew they’d have a research team whose sole purpose of existence is to build bots? The subagency, known as DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), has provided funding to a group called Boston Dynamics to build a cheetah bot, engineered to run just like its flesh-and-blood namesake. Reaching top speeds of 18 mph, the cheetah bot has a ways to go before it can chase prey on the African savanna, though it easily outpaces the average human sprinter (world record-holder Usain Bolt not included). While DARPA has been hush-hush on the specific military application for cheetah bot, the creature’s design includes the ability to “zigzag to chase and evade.” Apparently these skills might come in handy in emergency situations, i.e., search and rescue and firefighting, as well as “advanced agriculture and vehicular travel.” Corn farmers, take heed: if the scarecrows aren’t keeping the birds out of your crops, cheetah bot might be a better option. Via Wired.
Cheetah Bot: Coming to a Rescue Near You?