Being developed for the US military, these robotic wheels mean vehicles can drive across all different terrains without even having to slow down
IMPRESSIVE new technology has emerged that can transform a wheel into an all-terrain track in just two seconds.
The invention is being developed for the US military, to make it easier for their vehicles to tackle different driving surfaces.
Created by the Carnegie Melon University National Robotics Engineering Centre, the device would mean vehicles can transfer from hard to soft ground instantly without even having to slow down.
Called the “Reconfigurable Wheel Track” (RWT), it starts off round and uses a thin rubber cover over a robotic wheel.
The driver is able to convert the spinning wheels into a triangular shape, creating tracks where the centre remains still and the rubber moves over the outside.
Being able to quickly change the type of wheels a vehicle uses could prove vitally important for military vehicles needing a quick getaway.
And if the technology ever makes it into regular car production, it could entirely transform off-road motoring.
Drivers of 4×4 vehicles could take their adventures to new heights and tackle all-new terrains without the need to manually change over to tracks.
US car maker GMC previously revealed a four-wheel-drive concept that came withtank tracks to help it tackle rugged, snow-covered terrain – but it doesn’t give the option of regular tyres for normal road driving.
And in August last year, a rare Land Rover Series II with giant tracks went up for sale for £50,000.
Demonstrating the incredible tech in a YouTube video, a representative from the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency said: “RWTs can change from wheel to track and back again within two seconds, while the vehicle is in motion.
“Wheels permit fast travel on hard surfaces, while tracks perform better on soft surfaces.
“The device is perfect for instant improvements to tactical mobility and manoeuvrability on diverse terrains.”
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