back to article Robot NIGHTMARE sets new leggy-bot speed record

The ever-inventive mad scientists at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has released a video of its Cheetah quadrupedal robot, showing how it's now the fastest mechanical beast on four legs. If you happen to have a wee child watching over your shoulder at this very moment, The Reg strongly suggests that …


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  1. Yesnomaybe

    Imagine.. fast it could go if it wasn't going in reverse!!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only the KIDS shouldnt' watch it?

    I wonder if gin will prevent the nightmares I expect tonight?

  3. Steven Raith
    Thumb Up

    Snow crash?

    Makes me think of the guard dogs in that book....forget the name of them. Someone remind me, ta.

    Oh, and talk about uncanny valley. What is it with Boston Dynamics and things that just look *wrong* in motion?

    I approve of the tech though, fantastic stuff.

    Steven R

    1. Long John Brass Silver badge

      Re: Snow crash?

      I thought the dogs in snow crash were cybernetically enhanced pound puppies?

      1. Steven Raith
        Thumb Up

        Re: Snow crash?

        Ta, and to Moitey - those are the ones.

        I saw that video and thought of Rat Things.

        Steven R

    2. moiety

      Re: Snow crash?

      Rat Thing

  4. VeganVegan

    No worries,

    Stand firm, get a tight grip on your cricket bat, and try to swat a sixer.

  5. BloodyL


    Release the hounds.....

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shurely shome mistake ....

    "prospect of a herd of these metal mothers bearing down on a passel of Occupy Wherever protesters is nightmare-inducing, indeed"

    er, no: quite the opposite for those of who live and work in London, at least

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Shurely shome mistake ....

      I had a different thought.

      Where others see a nightmare, I see a bookmaking opportunity......

  7. Sceptic Tank
    Black Helicopters

    I, for one....

    Article says: "I, for one, emphatically do not welcome this particular robot overload."

    I say: I, for one, would very much welcome an overload before this thing becomes the overlord. That thing can run at double the speed I can drive to work in the morning.

    Well done, though. As a noob hobbyist enthusiast I'm still struggling just to control a single robot arm, let alone make it run amok at several mph.

  8. Muckminded

    Scary looking as it is

    Somehow it would look even worse if they tried to stretch a fake skin on it. Still, they will have to hide the diamond-tipped teeth somehow, once they're added.

  9. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Wow, I'm impressed

    "Not that I don't fully trust my benevolent government to always have my best interests at heart"

    Did you really write that with a straight face?

    Seriously, you forgot to mention the bit about it having trouble with stairs. It does have a problem with stairs, right? Please, just say it and I'll believe you. Now then, where did I put the tequila?

  10. Martin Huizing

    Honda's Asimo...

    Can walk, run, go down stairs *and* dance all without wires. I think the boffins at Honda scoff at this attempt of a running robot. Me believe that, if Honda would put a little bit of effort into this, they could create a running robot that would outrun a real cheetah (instead of calling it one)!

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Honda's Asimo...

      Most importanly, it will have an iVTEC sticker on the bum and 3 cupholders. Never forget the cupholders and the special diaper and tissues compartment.

      1. laird cummings

        Re: Honda's Asimo...

        It's also slow, unable to right itself, obstacle-challenged, and not at all agile.

        Boston Dynamics already has the Big Dog (and it's little cousin) which can negotiate rough terrain, is hard to knock over and largely self-righting, and is fairly fast in its own right. Cross Big Dog with Cheetah, and you've got a *fast* agile, un-tethered, petrol-powered beast.

        Then there's Boston Dynamics' Rise:

        Hard-core high-octane nightmare fuel at that link.

        Honda needs to up its nightmare game - clearly, they've lost the plot.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Honda's Asimo...

      I would have thought that if you want a really fast robot and one that doesn't slow down you'd get Toyota to build it!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Honda's Asimo...

      Vtec kicked in y'all

  11. Old Handle

    You think that was bad?

    This thing is far, far worse:

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: You think that was bad?

      You're not kidding. The black fur sort of covering, the way it staggers then carries on when the guy brutally kicks it, the goat-like legs and the way it keeps coming over ice, snow and forest tracks...the way IT DOESN'T HAVE A HEAD!

      The army wont need to fight if they have these. The enemy will just run in horror.

      Terminator, for obvious reasons.

      1. VinceH Silver badge

        Re: You think that was bad?

        Umm... I actually felt a bit sorry for it when the guy kicked it.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Medium Dave

        Re: You think that was bad? It gets worse...

        1. VinceH Silver badge

          Re: You think that was bad? It gets worse...

          If they ever put any kind of covering on that one or a future version (wether it's skin like or just plastic) they really HAVE to make sure it looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

          And give it his voice.

          And get it knocking on people's doors and saying "Sarah Connor?" when they open it.

    2. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: You think that was bad?

      Mr Tumnus! What did they do to you?!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Big Dog vid

      I refuse to watch that video again, it made me feel more than a little ill last time i did

  12. Pete the not so great

    How far / fast will it go...

    without those wires?

    1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

      Re: How far / fast will it go...

      I would guess 0mph, 0 miles (after it has fallen over of course).

      The reason it is run like that is because it doesn't (in it's current form) have onboard power. Hence it will fall over and not move.

  13. Mike48US

    Not as scary as their others

    Take a trip to the boston dynamics website to see more of their little and not so little, metal creations! Not all of them are tethered either... Rise of the Machines, indeed!

    1. CD001

      Re: Not as scary as their others

      ... but, but, but ... it's _really_ cute! I want one.

  14. TRT Silver badge

    That does it.

    I'm moving to a shingle beach.

  15. Tom_


    I look forward to riding one of these to work.

  16. david 63

    Italian Guard Dog...


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Italian Guard Dog...

      LOL! Probably should have posted that AC, as I have done.

    2. I think so I am?

      Re: Italian Guard Dog...

      the thing is also almost as creepy as Silvio Berlusconi

      1. archengel46
        Thumb Up

        Re: Italian Guard Dog...

        But it doesn't have implanted hair yet!

  17. Nigel 11

    Robot Kangaroo anyone?

    My guess is that they'd find kangaroo-style running easier. Why? Because kangaroos have a less evolved brain than other mammals. Also because tripedal stability is easier than quadrapedal.

    I'll be worried when it can carry its own power supply and run on grass. (At that point I'll start having nightmares about the Beast in "Farenheit 451").

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Robot Kangaroo anyone?

      "Because kangaroos have a less evolved brain than other mammals"

      Well, it is Australian...

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Robot Kangaroo anyone?

      More to the point, its batteries'll last longer.

      IIRC Kangaroos have long, elastic tendons running down their legs, so that somewhere north of 80% of the energy from landing gets played back into the next hop. Again IIRC, the conclusion was that nothing beats hopping for travelling long distances on the ground with minimal energy use.

      Doesn't make the damned things look any less stupid though.

      1. laird cummings

        Doesn't make the damned things look any less stupid though

        Clearly, you've never seen a drunk sailor chasing a drunk wallaby. There are some things that look *far* more stupid than 'Roos...

  18. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Now for a proper cheetah

    Retractable claws and sharp teeth please.

    1. dboy

      Re: Now for a proper cheetah

      pedant alert - cheetahs are the only big cats without retractable claws

  19. Ryan 7


    That's faster than you can run away from it.

    1. Patrick R

      Re: Run away from it ?

      Well, just step off the treadmill, then.

    2. Martin Huizing

      Re: 18mph?

      And it didn't say in which direction. Opposite one guess then...

  20. Mike Richards Silver badge


    We have to get to work resurrecting dinosaurs immediately - packs of velociraptors are the only things that will be able ward off the killer robots.

    There is literally nothing that can go wrong with this plan.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Obviously

      I see your infallible plan and raise you robotic velociraptors. Should be scaleable too, so you get robotic Allosaurs, Carnotaurs, Spinosaurs and T-Rexs from there as mere development work.

      Hmm, better stock up on RPGs, this could get nasty........

  21. Munchausen By Taxi


    Reminds me of that AIMEE robot (in dog mode) from the film 'Red Planet'.

  22. lurker

    Still some way to go

    Real Cheetahs can manage 70MPH in short bursts.

    Impressive though.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Still some way to go

      When it comes to last cat-analogue standing, my money's on the one that can do 18mph all day and is pretty much immune to the effects of all the weaponry posessed by the other.

      1. lurker

        Re: Still some way to go

        "can do 18mph all day"

        Only while there's a bloke with what would need to be a very long power cable running along side.

        Fill the robot with batteries, and the cheetah with a gazelle, and see which one lasts longer.

        My money is on the cheetah winning that particular endurance contest - I suspect that robot requires a lot of juice.

    2. richard 7

      Re: Still some way to go

      or the Ambiguous Puzuma

  23. JRBobDobbs


    oh dear.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kids have seen this already

    Oh come off it. I cannot be the only parent* who has glimpsed some of "Wolverine and the X-Men" and seen the Sentinel variant that resembles this. Failing that there's something similar in Robotech (New Generation?) for the older ones amongst us.

    Sheldon Cooper would despair at the lack of background knowledge of the readership here.

    *That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

  25. R J Tysoe

    I think it's more of a Slam hound from Neuromancer than a Rat Thing

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