30 Oct

Wonderfully weird trucks: General Electric’s ‘Walking Truck’

In the past, we’ve made lists about some of the weirdest trucks out there in the world, be it from an aesthetic or functional standpoint.

For today’s blog, instead of listing numerous trucks, we’re going to focus on just one. This time around, its General Electric’s ‘Walking Truck’ from the late 1960s.

What was the ‘Walking Truck’?

Completed in 1968, the Walking Truck was the brainchild of Ralph Mosher, who the program lead for the invention of this General Electric’s vehicle. Despite being called the Walking Truck, it was actually a quadruped robot controlled via human hand and foot movements that were couple to hydraulic valves.

In terms of inventions, the Walking Truck was substantial as it was one of the first applications to incorporate force feedback, allowing the vehicle’s operator to feel what was happening. Given the complexity of the vehicle, the only way for it properly operate at the time was through having a human in the driver’s seat and acting out the movements for the vehicle to execute.

The invention of the Walking Truck wasn’t just for show, however; it served a very important purpose. It was built with the purpose of allowing military infantry to carry equipment across rough terrain. By having a vehicle that possessed legs rather than wheels, it reduced the risk of potential turnovers if the terrain were too unstable for four wheels caught on the same level.

Considering the Walking Truck was released in 1968, it’s no surprise that it was relatively slow. At max, it could operate at around 5 miles per hour (8 km), which still wasn’t that bad. However, operating the Walking Truck could be exhausting. Considering it weighed around 1.36 tonnes, no one person could operate it for too long.

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