U.S. military research scientists have developed a robot that mimics the movements of a cheetah, able to sustain speeds of up to 18 miles per hour.

The robot was developed by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, part of the Department of Defense. In a statement Monday, the agency said the new device could eventually have military applications.

The use of ground robots in military explosive ordinance disposal missions already saves many lives and prevents thousands of other casualties, read the DARPA statement. If the current limitations on mobility and manipulation capabilities of robots can be overcome, robots could much more effectively assist warfighters across a greater range of missions.

The machine doesn't much resemble an actual cheetah. It has four metal limbs with sharp tips that bend backward and make contact with the ground. Like the cheetah, it propels itself forward by alternating force from its front legs to its back legs, giving it a peculiar  gallop.

The robotic cheetah has also set a new record for land speed among legged robots, which was previously set at 13.1 miles per hour in 1989.

It may be some time before the robot reaches the speed of its flesh-and-blood inspiration. Cheetahs can reach top speeds of up to 70 miles per hour.

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