London: A Pentagon-funded robot Cheetah has clocked 45.5 kilometres per hour to beat the record of the fastest sprinter, Usain Bolt.
The Cheetah, a quadrupedal machine built by Boston Dynamics and backed by Darpa, the US Defence Department’s research division, not only topped the Olympic 100m and 200m champion’s record-setting time, it also beat its previous top speed of 29 kmph, set just six months ago.
However, the robot’s developers qualified the achievement.
“To be fair, keep in mind that the Cheetah robot runs on a treadmill without wind drag and has an off-board power supply that it does not carry. So Bolt is still the superior athlete,” Boston Dynamics said.
“Our real goal is to create a robot that moves freely outdoors while it runs fast.
“We are building an outdoor version that we call Wildcat, that should be ready for testing early next year,” Dr Alfred Rizzi, the head of Cheetah programme, said in a statement.
Cheetah, according to the US Defence Department, is being developed for use on terrain where conventional wheels and tracks would struggle and will “contribute to emergency response, humanitarian assistance and other defence missions”.