Boston Dynamics‘ Cheetah was known as the world’s fastest robot on Earth and MIT Cheetah was known as the second fastest robot on Earth. But Florida-based company Robotics Unlimited has made a new robot called OutRunner. The company claims it is the world’s fastest robot.
OutRunner comes in two versions: OutRunner Core and OutRunner Performance. These robots are biologically-inspired; they emulate the behavior of legged animals by reproducing their step pattern and having a similar mass/length distribution. By having a center of mass lower than the leg axis of rotation, OutRunner robots exploit a buoyancy effect, making them inherently stable and eliminating the need for expensive sensors and complex control algorithms.
Energy efficiency is achieved by exploiting the same feature observed in legged animals; using legs as an energy storage system allows for fluctuation and conservation (and not losses) of potential and kinetic energy during running. Because of this energy storage mechanism, OutRunner robots are able to run for 2 hours whereas a RC car with the same battery will run maximum 20 minutes. Steering is achieved by shifting the center of mass of the robot, forcing it to lean to one side, which in result induces a turn (similarly to what happens on a bicycle).
However, the above picture you see is of OutRunner Core. This version is about 1.5 feet tall and weighs around 3 pounds. The robot is equipped with a Universal Camera Mount (camera not included, 1/4″ thread). It is controlled via a standard remote control and has a battery life of 1 hour. On the other hand, the below image is of OutRunner Performance.
OutRunner Performance is powerful than OutRunner Core. The robot comes with 12 legs and can run on 6, 8, 10 or 12 legs, according to your preference. However, OutRunner Performance is slightly taller than 2 feet and weighs about 5 pounds. It is equipped with a 6 degrees of freedom Inertial Measurement Unit (Accelerometer and Gyroscope) and a onboard High Definition camera (720p, 30fps). The robot also has a Universal Camera Mount (camera not included ,1/4″ thread). OutRunner Performance is controllable via a remote or via your smartphone. The sensor data and video can be live streamed on your smartphone via WiFi. Besides, it has a battery that provides power up to 2 hours.
OutRunner robots can reach speeds up to 45 mph on a treadmill and 25 mph outdoors. It is to be noted here that the DARPA’s Cheetah gained a maximum speed of 28.3 mph on a trademill, while the MIT’s Cheetah reached a top speed of 13.7 mph on a trademill.
Currently, the team behind Robotics Unlimited is trying to raise a fund of $150,000 from the popular crowdfunding source Kickstarter by Jun 8, 2014. As of writing, having 14 days left in hand, the team has collected $46,153 from 167 backers.
If the team members successfully raise the funding, they would like to host a global robot race in which anyone can enter. For more details, hit the links below