To get a running jump, the robot plans out its path, much like a human runner: As it detects an approaching obstacle, it estimates that object’s height and distance. The robot gauges the best position from which to jump, and adjusts its stride to land just short of the obstacle, before exerting enough force to push up and over. Based on the obstacle’s height, the robot then applies a certain amount of force to land safely, before resuming its initial pace.
It was able to successfully conquer hurdles up to 18-inches tall while going about 5mph.
Here’s a less threatening video of the cheetah running across some grass, but don’t be deceived by the innocent-looking prance.