A robot Raptor developed by a team of Korean scientists at KAIST, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, can outrun Olympic runner Usain Bolt. Right now, the Raptor is only capable of running on a treadmill; but, imagine it running you down, one day when the robots rule the Earth.
As you can guess by its name, the robot Raptor was inspired by the velociraptor dinosaurs that have been theorized to be intelligent and ruthless killers, which hunted their prey in packs. The Raptor the team of Koreans created isn’t quite as fast as the robot, Cheetah, developed by researchers at Boston Dynamics, but it can run at close to the same speed, on two legs rather than four.
Just how fast can the robot Raptors run?
The robot Raptor is pretty fast, though so far, it is only able to run on a treadmill. According to CNET, the Raptor can run at 46 kilometers per hour (kph), or 28 miles per hour (mph). Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, the fastest known human alive, has a top speed of 44.7kph (27.44 mph). The Cheetah is even faster than both Bolt and the robot Raptor. It is capable of running as fast as 47 kph (29.3 mph).
According to The Spectrum, which is published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Raptor has been recorded at an even faster speed than the Cheetah. The robot Raptor hit a new speed of 48 kph. For now, though, the Korean team of researchers that developed the robot Raptor is still going with an official speed of 46 kph as being the fastest that it can run and remain relatively stable.
One aspect in which the Raptor is similar to the Cheetah developed by Boston Dynamics is that both, according to Discovery News, use an attached beam to prevent them from running off of the treadmill.
In what ways is the robot Raptor different from the Cheetah?
Besides the robot Raptor running on two legs and the Cheetah running on four, and the slightly slower official speed of the robot Raptor, there are a few other differences between the two robots. The Raptor runs on legs made out of a lightweight composite material, one motor per leg, and has feet made from carbon-fiber prosthetic blades, whereas the Cheetah gets its power from hydraulic actuators while the Raptor has springs for its Achilles tendons.
The Raptor is lighter in weight, at just three kilograms (6.5 pounds), and it has a “tail” that helps keep it balanced. Though the tail doesn’t look like a real velociraptor’s tail, and it is located on the side of the robot Raptor rather than its hind quarters, it moves back and forth like a spinning counterbalance to keep the robot steady. One impressive thing that the robot Raptor can do, using its tail to help it, is dodge or jump over obstacles like wooden blocks that are placed in its way. It can even use the tail to help it knock some of the obstacles out of its way.
According to Boston Dynamics, its robot, the Wildcat, a version of the Cheetah that can run untethered, operates using a 2-stroke go-kart engine. The Wildcat is connected to a hydraulic pump. Though it can run at speeds of up to 16 mph on flat terrain, the small size of its fuel tank limits it to only being able to run for a total of five minutes.
Though currently, the Raptor can only run on a treadmill, according to Engadget, the Korean research team is seeking to stabilize it even further, so that it will be able to traverse any type of terrain, like the Wildcat. You can see the Raptor in action in the video below!
Written by: Douglas Cobb