In the 1980s, the US military spent millions of dollars developing a transport robot shaped like an insect. Instead of using wheels like armored vehicles or trackers like tanks, this robot uses legs for movement.
At the time, the design was said to have been inspired by the AT-AT “monsters” from the Star Wars sci-fi series, which debuted in 1981. With six mechanical feet arranged in On both sides, the US military hopes this robot can easily overcome all kinds of rough terrain in the battlefield.
Called the Adaptive Suspension Vehicle (ASV), this bizarre vehicle was part of a decade-long project by the US Army that began in 1981 before being permanently discontinued in 1990. ASV research and development is undertaken by Ohio State University.
In those years, the project received a $ 1 million annual investment from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Steering Agency (DARPA).
The bizarre combat vehicle (pictured) was part of a 10-year project by the US military, before being scrapped in 1990.
Prof Robert McGhee and Kenneth Waldron at Ohio State University – one of the people on the development team – wrote a scientific paper explaining the feasibility of their project in 1986:
“The vehicle uses legs to move, instead of using a wheel or track, to demonstrate the feasibility of this weapon when traveling on very rough terrain conditions”
“The vehicle is currently being tested, with installation and validation of software modules for different operating conditions, scheduled for completion by the end of 1986. ‘
It is known that this extremely unique fighting machine weighs nearly 3 tons, is 5.1m long, 2.4m wide and 3m high. Thanks to its enormous size, it can easily cross barbed wire fences and walls, or cross trenches up to 7m wide thanks to its mechanical legs.
The ASV combat vehicle is said to be inspired by AT-AT in the Star Wars franchise, which uses legs to move on the battlefield.
However, the fact that the ASV can only operate with an extremely low payload (only 219kg) is one of the reasons why this combat vehicle is not approved for armored equipment in the United States. The logistics for ASV maintenance and operation also raises many problems. Simply recharging the ASV to work is difficult to do.
Not to mention, the special design of the ASV itself is also very problematic. For the smooth control of six mechanical legs, engineers introduced an extremely complex drive system, including hydraulic pump, 453kg flywheel and 900cc engine.
The engine has a capacity of 91 horsepower but is used only to power the flywheel, which is responsible for driving a total of 18 hydraulic cylinders. The process is quite complicated, requiring the engine to power three separate drive shafts. They then transfer electricity to each mechanical leg, which integrates three hydraulic pumps.
This extremely unique fighting machine weighs nearly 3 tons, is 5.1m long, 2.4m wide and 3m high.
When the flywheel spins at 12,000 rpm, it can deliver 250 watts, less than one horsepower, for an hour total. The driver can use more energy while driving, but only for a short period of time. However, for complex movement maneuvers, the amount of ASV energy consumed far exceeds the energy it can generate.
Along with mechanical components, ASV also integrates up to 17 computers just to help the operator move this “unique” combat vehicle. Specifically, 6 computers will be in charge of controlling 6 pins of ASV. Meanwhile, the remaining 11 computers will assist the driver in operating this giant machine. To help ASV to place their feet accurately while on the move, the team has integrated a camera with a resolution of 128 x 128 pixels, along with a display screen placed in the cockpit.
The ASV’s problematic design prevented this combat vehicle from being used by the US military.
It is known that engineers at Ohio State University had the intention of developing unmanned versions for ASVs. However, the project was stalled before this could be done.
“With its current configuration, the ASV is not an autonomous robot,” the team said in 1986. “This vehicle still needs a rider, who is in charge of operating, moving, navigation “.
Remarkably, the fate of the ASV combat vehicle is a mystery, as no one knows whether it is being stored somewhere or has been eliminated decades ago.
The rare footage goes back to the testing process of ASV in 1984
Refer to DailyMail