Slow at first and then with increasing speed the robot sprints across the harsh terrain. Its razor-like feet digging into the rugged surface propelling it forward. It knows how long it has to reach the waypoint and the consequences if it fails to get there in time. It assigns even more processing power to its pattern recognition algorithms, keen to identify any obstacles before they hinder its progress.
Everybody’s favourite funding source DARPA has release a video of a ‘cheetah’ robot that has just set the record for the fastest legged robot. It can run at an impressive 18mph, which would allow it to complete the 100m in under 13 seconds. I will keep a look out for it when the olympics kick off in London later this year. See a video and press release here: http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Releases/2012/03/05.aspx