ANYmal is a cute little four-legged (quadruped) robot from ETH in Zurich.
(ANYmal quadruped robot video
ANYmal is a quadrupedal robot designed for autonomous operation in challenging environments. Driven by special compliant and precisely torque controllable actuators, the system is capable of dynamic running and high-mobile climbing. Thanks to incorporated laser sensors and cameras, the robot can perceive its environment to continuously create maps and accurately localize. Based on this information, it can autonomously plan its navigation path and carefully select footholds while walking. Driven by our first real-world application, namely industrial inspection of oil and gas sites, ANYmal carries batteries for more than 2h autonomy and different sensory equipment such as optical and thermal cameras, microphones, gas-detection sensors and active lighting. With this payload, the machine weighs less than 30kg and can hence be easily transported and deployed by a single operator.
Check out this early refernce from the 1951 short story The Quest for Saint Aquin by Anthony Boucher, who writes about an autonomous robot with articulated legs:
He... took his first opportunity to inspect the robass in full light. He admired the fast-plodding, articulated legs, so necessary since roads had degenerated...
(Read more about the robass)