Sandia National Laboratories' prototype Urban Hopper can really do wonders just by hopping.
Now robot maker Boston Dynamics has landed the job of producing a military version with a dash of more self-control.
US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is funding the programme, says it wants the hopper for urban reconnaissance and intelligence gathering - although it admits it could also be fitted with a raft of weapons, reports New Scientist.
Sandia's shoebox-sized prototype, which is driven by an electric motor, rolls along on wheels. It jumps using a gas piston which is powered by methylacetylene and nitrous oxide.
However, its leaps so far are pretty haphazard.
"The existing hoppers do not maintain a stable orientation during hops, but tumble randomly," says DARPA spokesman Mark Peterson. (ANI)