In the 1960s, the government had their own AT-AT

by Mark R

I’ve always wondered why in the world there isn’t a real-life walking vehicle like the AT-AT from The Empire Strikes Back. After all, what makes the wheel think its so great?

Well, it has been tried. Back in the 1960s, the U.S. Army worked with General Electric to create the Cybernetic Anthropomorphous Machine (CAM) to create a walking machine for rough terrain.

The purpose of the CAM was not to find the location of the hippies’ rebel base, but to go through swampland impassable to ordinary vehicles while carrying huge loads on its back. Perhaps this is designed for Vietnam?

Apparently, it didn’t quite work, as it was controlled by some hydraulic levers that matched the 11-foot-tall legs. The project was scrapped because the operator had trouble thinking about which lever to pull to move the proper leg. Think about it as a mechanical dog, but you have to think about which leg steps at what point in time. It did work, and was able to move at 35 miles per hour. Couldn’t we make it so some computer algorithm to control its forward and backward leg movement?

Well, if you want to see this thing, it is at a U.S. Army Transportation Museum at Fort Eustis. Before that, it was in a warehouse in Detroit, along with the landspeeder, speeder bike, and other abandoned projects that somehow predated Star Wars.


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