Transformer And Roll Out!: DARPA Demonstrates Its Shape-Changing Wheel Design

April 18, 2019

This is a video highlighting the Reconfigurable-Wheel Track (RWT) wheels developed by DARPA to add to its war machines of the future. The design was briefly seen previously in this article discussing DARPA's Ground X-Vehicle Technologies, and can morph from a round rolling wheel to a triangular treaded track on the fly and in less than a second to traverse various terrain (round and rolling for hard surfaces, triangular tracked for soft). Cool, but why isn't there a square shape option? "For what purpose?" Bewildering your enemies! If they see you pulling up to battle with square wheels they're gonna think, "Oh shit, these guys are idiots," then let their guard down. And that's when you hit them with the trebuchet. "You really are a master of war, GW." You know the whole Trojan Horse thing? I invented that to get into a birthday party I wasn't invited to.

Hit the jump for the full video.

Thanks to Closet Nerd, who agrees these are cool, but monster truck tires are best.

  • The_Wretched

    Needlessly complicated, expensive, and likely to break

  • somenobody

    cool, but old video :|

  • Bling Nye

    Sure kicked the shit out of that paved parking lot and looked cool doing it. :/

    One thing I've learned over time is the more complex things are, the more parts there are, the more points of potential failure there are. So I have to wonder if these wheels are actually worth their cost to develop and use; are they going to be prone to critical components breaking under actual use?

  • nik

    I guess it's like everything new. Novelty right now but in 15 years our robot overlords will all have them...

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  • James Mcelroy

    I agree, and i'm curious under what conditions they were hoping to use these reconfigurable wheels. I would like to see a practical demo of when to use and how it is better. I'm sure they're cheap too.

  • Bling Nye

    From what I can tell it would be for something like wet sand/snow or some other "slippery" surface where increased tire surface area in contact would help with increasing traction. I just have a hard time believing their cost is anywhere near their worth.

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