By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 11:12 AM on 28th February 2011
But despite spending taxpayer millions on the android the Department of Defense officials don’t know what they will use it for
A new robot that can outrun the fastest man on Earth and a Terminator-type android that will work alongside troops is being developed for the US Army.
The speedy robot – called, unsurprisingly, the Cheetah – is being developed by Boston Dynamics, which brought to the world the $18million BigDog robot used to help soldiers carry equipment over tough terrain.
But despite the multi-million dollar contracts awarded by the Department of Defense, army officials still don’t know exactly what the robots will be used for, according to the company’s boss.
Scroll down for a video of the BigDog and Petman robots in action
Marc Raibert, lead investigator on the project and president of Boston Dynamics told the Boston Herald the Department of Defense is ‘not so focused on what the ultimate use will be.’
He added: ‘They’re most focused on developing the technology and seeing what uses they can be applied to.’
The four-legged Cheetah will have a flexible spine and articulated head, and, when built, it will be added to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s impressive robot arsenal.
It will be able to sprint, take sharp corners, zigzag and be precise enough to stop on a dime.
The costs have not been revealed, but the multi-million dollar contract is expected to take quite a bite out of the department’s $3.2billion annual budget.
Real Cheetahs – the faster animal on land – can reach speeds of up to 70mph, and the company are hopeful their robot will be able to match them pound for metal.
The company hopes to have a prototype built in 20 months which will hit between 20 and 30mph.
The Atlas robot, which looks not too dissimilar to the androids in Terminator, will be a force to reckon with, the company hopes.
It has a body, two arms and two legs but no head and will be able to walk over rough terrain, fit through tight gaps and crawl on its hands and knees if needed.
The makers hope it will be a more technologically advanced version of its Petman robot, which is used to test out chemical weapons protection suits for the army and is capable of walking at 3mph and remain standing, even when pushed.
Robots in disguise: The BigDog, left, was unveiled in 2008 and the Atlas, right, is set to be the newest robot built for the Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency alongside the Cheetah
Boston Dynamics hope to recreate the success its BigDog robot had when it was unveiled in 2008.
The BigDog supports American troops by carrying up to four backpacks of equipment over bumpy and rocky ground that wheeled vehicles cannot move over.
The 2ft tall and 3ft long metal beast also comes with high-tech gadgets including laser gyroscopes, video camera sensors and an on-board computer.
It wowed the world in 2008 and the company hopes to eventually sell the dogs to farmers for transporting crops.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1361038/US-Army-build-Cheetah-robot-run-faster-humans–lets-hope-doesnt-taste-flesh.html#ixzz1FILbujEp