DARPA has released a video showing its Cheetah quadruped robot running at speeds up to 18mph, which shatters the previous record of 13.1mph set by MIT's Planar Biped robot in 1989. The Cheetah is developed by Boston Dynamics, who won the contract just over a year ago. The company is also responsible for the AlphaDog or LS3 pack mule robot and the Atlas humanoid robot.
The Cheetah robot is modeled after its real-life counterpart, which is also the land speed record holder for animals. And like the actual cheetah, this quadruped robot can flex and un-flex its back with each step to increase its stride and speed. You can see this in action in the video, which shows the Cheetah galloping on a treadmill.
Currently, the Cheetah is still attached to an off-board hydraulic pump and isn't completely autonomous,
lacking sensors to detect its environment. However, DARPA intends to test out a free-running prototype, similar to what we've seen with the LS3, later this year.