DARPA wheels transform into instant crawler tracks

Agency DARPA is working on another project – the wheels-transformers for the Humvee combat car, which for two seconds change their configuration, turning from ordinary wheels to triangular tracks.

The tank is distinguished among other weapons by the presence of firepower, armor protection and mobility. Over the past 30 years, a powerful technological breakthrough has occurred in the tank building industry, which, alas, hardly touched the last component – mobility: tanks, armored personnel carriers and other combat vehicles use the old schemes of tracks and wheels with all their pros and cons: caterpillars are good in the field, and wheels – on the roads.

Within the framework of the new program DARPA RWT (Reconfigurable Wheel Track) specialists of the National Center for Engineering and Robotics of the University of Carnegie Mellon have developed a system of wheel-transformers that turn from caterpillars into wheels in 2 seconds and back. The demonstration took place in Aberdeen, Maryland, in May 2018. Vehicles equipped with RWT will have fewer restrictions related to the terrain, and, accordingly, will have better maneuverability.

Another development of DARPA is the METS (Multi-Mode Extreme Travel Suspension) system, which reduces shaking in the car when driving on rough terrain due to suspension adjustment.


The next innovation is a 100-kilowatt electric motor, which is housed in a standard 20-inch wheel rim. The engine has three gears, an internal brake with liquid cooling and a central tire inflation system.

A car equipped with such a system does not need a “main” engine inside the armored hull, resulting in the release of additional space. In addition, if one or even two engines fail, the car does not lose mobility.

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