MIT's robotic cheetah just received a fresh but slightly scary upgrade that allows it to run and leap over hurdles autonomously.
This is the first time a four-legged robot has used laser sensors to gauges the distance and height of obstacles in its way to plan its jump, claim MIT.
A 'fast' algorithm then helps the bot decide how much leg thrust it needs to successfully clear the hurdle.
All of these processes allow it run and act like a living cheetah, reaching a speed of 10 miles per hour and leaping over obstacles that are 33 centimetres tall -- a tremendous feat for a robot.
The team first started by allowing the robotic cheetah to run on a treadmill while harnessed, reaching a speed of five miles per hour.
It was then let loose in an indoor track where it was given a series of hurdles to jump over and a longer run up to each obstacle.
The results were pretty convincing with the metal creature clearing 90 percent of the hurdles.
Sangbae Kim, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT said: "A running jump is a truly dynamic behavior.
"You have to manage balance and energy, and be able to handle impact after landing. Our robot is specifically designed for those highly dynamic behaviours."
Kim and his team will present their cheetah at the DARPA Robotics Challenge in June.Suggest a correction