Canadian Auto Mechanics May Soon Work On New Sideways Sliding Wheels
July 13, 2016
You know that old saying; ‘don’t reinvent the wheel.’ Well, William Liddiard wasn’t listening, because that’s exactly what he did. Liddiard is the inventor of ‘omni-directional’ wheels that can allow anything with wheels to move in any direction. That’s right—auto mechanics may soon see cars that can basically ‘moon walk’ across pavement, from right to left or, really, any direction you want. Located in London, Ontario, Liddiard is expecting to sell his technology to major automotive manufacturers. Will we see ‘omni-directional’ wheels on mass-produced vehicles sometimes in the future? Time will tell.
Keep reading to discover the history of the omni-directional wheel and the technology behind it.
Here’s What Auto Mechanics Should Know About the Technology Behind the Wheels
How exactly do wheels that can take you in any direction really work? Basically, each ‘tire’ features two rubber donut shaped wheels that sit in a roller-equipped rim which moves the tire horizontally. The wheels can move either synchronized or independently, which means each wheel can move any direction needed, leading to some serious manoeuvrability. Most omni-directional wheels require the vehicle to be built around them, but these wheels are actually bolted on, meaning they can be added on to any pre-existing car with ease. Liddiard’s system uses 24,000 pound feet of torque to move a car; those with automotive careers understand that this is a huge amount of torque. To put it in perspective, the 2016 Bugatti Veyron has just over 1,100 pound feet of torque, the most torque of any production car in the world.
Auto Mechanics May Know That Omni-Directional Wheels Have Already Been Used
The omni-wheel actually emerged almost 100 years ago, as the first patent for an omni-wheel was awarded in 1919. In 2009, at the Tokyo Motor Show, Honda debuted a personal mobility unit—a Segway-style scooter—that featured one omni-direction wheel. Dubbed the UNI-CUB BETA, the little one wheel scooter can move in any direction, and is currently being developed for commercial use. Omni-wheels are also currently used in robotics as well, and are being implemented in motorcycle design too, including the new Spherical Drive System (SDS) electric motorcycle. Although omni-wheels are becoming implemented in concepts like the SDS, it seems it will be a long time before auto mechanics see them used on mass-produced cars, if ever.
Auto Mechanics May See the Wheels on Other Vehicles
Because Mr. Liddiard has produced a new omni-wheel that can ‘snap on’ to any vehicle, this new technology has tons of potential applications. One that is spoken of is the application of omni-wheels with forklifts. Forklifts have to turn on a dime and often maneuver in very tight spaces, so the omni-wheel is a perfect application for these vehicles.
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