Leonardo's self-propelled cart

Leonardo's self-propelled cart

The original design of the self-propelled cart (Codex Atlanticus, f.812 r)[1]

Leonardo's self-propelled cart is an invention designed by Leonardo da Vinci, considered the ancestor of the modern automobile.


  • The replica 1
  • Construction 2
  • Media coverage 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

The replica

A self-propelled cart replica at museum Clos Lucé

A replica of the self-propelled cart is kept at the museum Clos Lucé, near Château d'Amboise, in France.


The machine is powered by the two symmetric springs. While one spring would be enough to move the device, two symmetric springs probably looked like a more "logically perfect" solution. Leonardo has been well aware the powering force drops significantly as the spring unwinds. In order to deliver smooth and stable motion, the machine features balance wheel, as used in clocks. The control mechanism is quite complex and allows to follow the pre-programmed path automatically. The machine also features a mechanism similar to differential that also allows to set the turning angle.

Media coverage

The television show Doing DaVinci of Discovery Channel, in 2009 realized the self-propelled cart.[2]

See also


  1. ^ (Italian) Il carro automotore
  2. ^ "Doing Da Vinci: Episode Guide". tv.msn.com. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 

External links

  • Self-Propelled Cart
  • (Italian) Il carro automotore