There has always been a design ‘trade off’ for vehicle design engineers with regard to vehicle propulsion on different terrains – need for speed, energy efficiency and low noise for the road, as against stability and traction for the off road.
Engineers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania may have come up with a solution with a prototype design called ‘reconfigurable wheel-tracks’ (RWTs). These consist of wheels that have tracks on their circumference which can be reshaped into triangles on the move and operate as traditional off road tracks.
The advantage of course is the adaptability to different terrains within seconds, the disadvantages are potential clogging of the moving parts of which there are many, potentially high maintenance, and the complexity that could make it prohibitively expensive.
Despite this the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are very interested in this new innovation because it can be retro fitted to standard army vehicles such as the Hummer, increasing it’s the safety & versatility.
Please see video link below.
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All the best
“I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.”
“If a book about failures doesn’t sell, is it a success?”
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