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Cassie is a bipedal robot from Oregon State University that can run a 5K in about 53 minutes — an acceptable time especially considering this thing is a damn robot!

From the creators:

Cassie the robot, invented at Oregon State University and produced by OSU spinout company Agility Robotics, has made history by traversing 5 kilometers, completing the route in just over 53 minutes. Cassie was developed under the direction of robotics professor Jonathan Hurst with a 16-month, $1 million grant from the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense. Since Cassie’s introduction in 2017, OSU students funded by the National Science Foundation have been exploring machine learning options for the robot. Cassie, the first bipedal robot to use machine learning to control a running gait on outdoor terrain, completed the 5K on Oregon State’s campus untethered and on a single battery charge.

The important things to note here are that the robot was completely autonomous and did not have a tether to keep it from falling over. It’s a fascinating test of the technology and could mean big changes afoot for bipedal robots. While most of these robots seem like they’re pretty autonomous, most of the tests we’ve seen of Boston Dynamics’ Atlas, for example, have been in controlled environments. This test puts the robot’s skills front and center and it seems to be ready to take on us weak humans in tests of strength, speed, and agility. Sorry, Olympians!

By John Biggs

John Biggs is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and maker. He spent fifteen years as an editor for Gizmodo, CrunchGear, and TechCrunch and has a deep background in hardware startups, 3D printing, and blockchain. His work has appeared in Men’s Health, Wired, and the New York Times.