The Department of Defense and Boston Dynamics are developing a four legged robot that can run faster than the fastest human.
But it could be used to kill.
The CHEETHA, developed by Boston Dynamics in a contract with the Pentagon, clocked in at 28.3 mph for the 20 meter split, beating the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, whose record stands at 27.78 for the 20 meter split.
In an interview with Wired, Dr. Alfred Rizzi, the technical lead for the Cheetah project stated:
“Our real goal is to create a robot that moves freely outdoors while it runs fast. We are building an outdoor version that we call WildCat, that should be ready for testing early next year.”
The DoD announced that “The robotic platforms will be humanoid, consisting of two legs, a torso, two arms with hands, a sensor head and on board computing.”
DARPA’s website says that the robots will help “conduct humanitarian, disaster relief and related operations.”
The robots are set to be completed by Aug. 9, 2014, according to the contract.
The four legged terror beast can handle over 300 lbs and can be effectively weaponised.
Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield, said the robot was “an incredible technical achievement, but it’s unfortunate that it’s going to be used to kill people”.
“It’s going to be used for chasing people across the desert, I would imagine. I can’t think of many civilian applications – maybe for hunting, or farming, for rounding up sheep.” Sharkey added.
Sharkey said in 2008 about DARPA’s weapons:
“If you have an autonomous robot then it’s going to make decisions who to kill, when to kill and where to kill them. The scary thing is that the reason this has to happen is because of mission complexity and also so that when there’s a problem with communications you can send a robot in with no communication and it will decide who to kill, and that is really worrying to me.”