This US Army wheel goes from tire to track in two seconds

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In this demonstration video, we discover several navigation systems without windows, a wheel hub incorporating a gearbox and an electric motor and the famous transformable wheel system. © Darpa

The Darpa has developed a reconfigurable wheel rim that allows you to switch from a classic tire mode to a triangular tracked format, all in two seconds and while the vehicle is driving.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) is working on the military transport of the future with already advanced concepts. As part of its Ground X-Vehicle Technology program, the research and development agency of the US military, has unveiled several devices for motorization of off-road equipment. Among these, an amazing wheel system that can move from a classic round shape to a triangular configuration for caterpillars.

Called Reconfigurable Wheel-Track (RWT), the system was co-developed with Carnegie Mellon University. As can be seen in the video below, the rim is composed of three moving parts articulated by a hydraulic circuit that change shape in the space of two seconds. The most impressive is that the transformation takes place while the vehicle is moving.

A navigation system without windows
The idea is to give military vehicles greater versatility to adapt to changes in terrain without delay: conventional wheels for hard floors and caterpillars for soft ground.

But the Darpa also deals with other surprising concepts that can be seen in the video: a vehicle with independent suspensions, able to marry the terrain reliefs while maintaining a perfect stability of the body; a windowless navigation system based on video cameras and lidars; a wheel hub incorporating an electric motor and a gearbox to improve traction and torque on difficult terrain.

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