DARPA Convertible Wheels instantly turn into tracked tracks

The DARPA agency is working on another project - transforming wheels for a Humvee combat vehicle, which within two seconds change their configuration, turning from ordinary wheels into triangular tracks.

The tank stands out among other weapons in the presence of firepower, armor protection and mobility. Over the past 30 years, a powerful technological breakthrough has taken place in tank building, which, alas, almost did not touch 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: the tracks are good in the field, and the wheels - on the roads.

As part of the new DARPA RWT (Reconfigurable Wheel Track) program, specialists from the National Center for Engineering and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a system of transforming wheels that turn from tracks to wheels and back in 2 seconds. The demonstration took place in Aberdeen, Maryland, in May 2018. Vehicles equipped with RWTs will have fewer terrain restrictions and thus have better maneuverability.

Another DARPA development is the METS (Multi-Mode Extreme Travel Suspension) system, which reduces shaking inside the car when driving over rough terrain by adjusting the suspension.

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

A vehicle equipped with such a system does not need a "main" engine inside the armored body, which frees up additional space. In addition, if one or even two engines fail, the car does not lose mobility.