Military Creates AT-TE Prototype

Posted Saturday, October 6th, 2012 01:00 pm GMT -4 by

AT-TE vs LS3

Back in 1983, former President Ronald Regan proposed the Strategic Defense Initiative that was dubbed the ‘Star Wars’ program due to its creative and abstract technological ideas to help defend the US against nuclear attacks that some felt more aptly belonged in the ‘Star Wars’ movies.  Little did people know that almost 30 years later, ‘Star Wars’ would not only help develop an air defense program but also an all-terrain one.

Just last month, Boston Dynamics unveiled their newest prototype of their LS3, the Legged Squad Support System which, oddly, highly resembles a smaller version of the AT-TE (All Terrain Tactical Enforcer) walker which appears in the film ‘Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.’  While the AT-TE was a beastly six legged vehicle, the LS3 only has 4 legs and has been dubbed a “pack mule.”

The LS3 is in essence a dynamic robot that was constructed by a team of engineers and scientist from Bell Helicopter, AAI Corporation, Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, and Woodward HRT. Unlike its AT-TE “cousin,” which needs 7 specially trained crew members in order to operate the vehicle, the LS3 doesn’t need a driver as it automatically follows a leader using computer vision, sensing and a GPS.

While the LS3 is not designed to carry clone troopers…I mean, soldiers…, it is designed to be able to carry 400 lbs of gear (such as water, food, shelter, medical supplies) and enough fuel for missions covering 20 miles and lasting 24 hours. It is also designed to provide cover in case of an attack. Of course the other implied function of the vehicle is that it could be used to transport certain arsenals of war and could bring new meaning to suicide bombers. Of course with a price tag of millions of dollars, that may not happen for a while.

A demonstration was launched last month to show off the LS3’s moving capabilities which included trotting, jogging, perception visualization and autonomy and it is amazing! To see what the LS3 is capable of, check out the video below!

I find it really amazing how machines from sci-fi movies that we’ve grown up with that were just imaginations are just now becoming a reality. I bet if I wait a little while longer I could probably be able to buy Marty McFly’s hover board at the nearest Target soon.

What are your thoughts of the LS3?

Source: IGN


  • Rick Friar

    My name’s Rick Friar and I featured this specific machine in my Sci Fi
    trilogy The Keepers. I use present innovations such as this, among many
    others, to give credence to the future biomimicry-based warfare shown in
    the story. Biomimicry is the art of engineering which takes its
    inspiration from nature. We humans for so long thought we could create
    forms that were superior to nature’s designs. The truth is, however,
    that our wheel, track and propeller driven craft are quite rudimentary
    and pathetic compared to what nature already created millions of years
    ago. It makes sense of course. After all, nature is one giant
    battlefield in a billion year Forever War. Thus, evolution honed out the
    most effective forms to attack and escape. When translated onto
    machinery, these forms often don’t have a greater top speed, but more
    importantly have far greater agility. A cheetah-like cavalry vehicle,
    for instance, would be able to zig zag and dodge enemy fire in a way
    that no tank could match. The same would go for hummingbid-like craft
    versus helicopters. Any nation equipped with such craft would be able to
    quickly cripple the defenses of a nation equipped with the conventional
    craft of today’s military. In my first book The Keepers: World War
    Three, there arises a potent and charismatic leader who, through sheer
    strength of will and force of personality is able to create a rabidly
    energetic populous and economy which provides the necessary resources
    for a secret military buildup that pales the Manhattan Project in
    comparison. The biomimicry craft form the backbone of his military’s
    offensive capabilities. His defense is based on Reagan’s Strategic
    Defense Initiative also spoken of in this article. The Laser Net is a
    system of devastatingly powerful lasers that can quickly and efficiently
    take down any incoming craft or missile. This debilitates the U.S.’s
    and other superpowers’ strategic nuclear defense capabilities. Without
    this, and with craft that are instantly rendered obsolete by the new
    biomimicry-based enemy military, the U.S., Russia, China, France and
    Britain are left incredibly vulnerable to attack by the mighty
    dictator’s army. The point is, truth is stranger than fiction and, if
    there ever was a Third World War, it would be bizarre and, for lack of a
    better word, whimsical in a way that we would find hard to comprehend

  • Seen this since 2005 and its actually meant to be a dog.

    • Janice Kay

      You mean like Daggett from Battlestar Galactica? ;)