China's Crab Walker Robot Tank In Firing Mode

China's Crab Walker robot tanks are just in the design stage, but the intent is to develop a multi-legged autonomous cannon.

(Crab Walker robot tank in firing mode)

Dai Jinsong and other Chinese engineers of the School of Mechanical Engineering, Nanjing University of Technology, have published three articles in Chinese weapons design journals as part of a long term study into the design of a legged, autocannon carrying robot. The extent of the study indicates a serious effort. The first article discussed modeling gun accuracy and building an eight-legged demonstrator and the second articles involved application of computer aided design (CAD) software to improve the testing process. Most importantly, the third paper analyzed the systems integration of components like the nine channel signal driver module, RS-845 communications module and STM-32 syncrhonization set, which were required to build a unique unified control system for its eight limbs.

The Chinese "crab walker" design is roughly 6 meters long, and two meters wide, including its legs. It has eight main legs, four on each side of the body, and has two rear mounted legs to brace itself for stabilization during firing; there is also another stabilization leg installed in the front).

Science fiction fans have seen this before (also, perhaps sf fans in China?). I'm thinking of the Tachikoma robots from Ghost in the Shell.

Fans of Star Wars might be thinking of the Separatist laser tank platforms used in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.

(OG-9 Homing Droid)

Much earlier, Jack Vance described a walking fort in his 1964 novel The Killing Machine:

He wanted Patch to design and construct a walking fort in the semblance of a monster centipede, seventy-six feet long and twelve feet high. The mechanism was to consist of eighteen segments, each equiped with a pair of legs. The fort... must be able to move at a speed of at least forty miles per hour on synchronized, smoothly operating legs.

If you'd like to see a small model of this idea, take a look at the video for the Roller-Walker Robot Has Tachikoma Skating Motion.

Via PopSci.

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