Could these transforming wheels be the future of off-roading?

Wheel tech has come a long way
by Drei Laurel | Jun 27, 2018

It might look something straight out of a Command and Conquer video game, but what you're seeing above is indeed a real thing. It's the Reconfigurable Wheel-Track (RWT) by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and it might just be the future of all-terrain mobility.

The shape-shifting wheel, which looks like a cross between a traditional tire and tracks, was developed with help from the Carnegie Mellon University National Robotics Engineering Center, and can transform from a round to triangular shape "to optimize mobility over different types of terrain." More impressively, RWTs can shift from tire to track in just two seconds while in motion, providing vehicles with never before seen levels of versatility on both hard and soft surfaces.

Now unfortunately, none of you guys can go out and slap these onto your midsize SUVs just yet. The RWT is part of DARPA's Ground X-Vehicle Technology program, which is aimed toward providing combat vehicles, rather than traditional off-roaders, with improved "tactical mobility and maneuverability on diverse terrains."

It's a shame, but considering our country's roads are about as diverse as they get, maybe DARPA will consider hooking up our market with a few RWTs. What do you think? Will this kind of tech be made available to the public in the near future?

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PHOTO: DARPA
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