That said, hiding the projects would be construed as even more malevolent by the tin-hat brigade.

DARPA’s Robocheetah V2 smashed the robot land speed records this week, clocking speeds of 18 mph.

The robot has been designed as a part of research into the limitations of bomb-disposal bots.

DARPA is aiming to improve the mobility of and flexibility of robots which, they say, would help them “more effectively assist warfighters across a great range of missions”.

The organisation refuses to say whether the RoboCheetah itself has a direct military application.

Internet commenters have been predictably inventive in coming up with applications for the bot: With some suggesting it could be used to tackle anti-social behaviour in “trouble inner city areas”.

While others have pointed out that a the Robocheetah V2 is currently mains powered – and that a battery to make it independently operational for any period of time would weigh it down considerably.

Eitherway, you’re unlikely to find the Robocheetah patrolling a street near you any time soon, though it might well be your nightmares tonight.