As the name suggests, Cheetah is the world’s fastest legged robot. Developed by Boston Dynamics, the robot can run as fast as 29 mph, a land speed record that no other robot has ever met. The previous land speed record was 13.1 mph, which was set at MIT in the year 1989. DARPA's Maximum Mobility and Manipulation Program fund the development of the Cheetah robot.
Cheetah boasts an articulated back, which can flex back and forth on every step, thus improving its stride and increasing the robot’s running speed. Powered by a special off-board hydraulic pump, Cheetah’s current version runs in the center of a high-speed treadmill in the lab. A boom-like device is used to make sure that the Cheetah robot runs in the treadmill’s center.
Boston Dynamics also aims at creating WildCat, which will be the next generation robot in the Cheetah family. WildCat will be able to operate without being connected to safety wires or cables. After going through the initial testing, WildCat had outdoor field-testing in the year 2013.