DARPA’s future ground vehicle will not fly but will not need roads

DARPA GXV-T wants future combat vehicles that could traverse up to 95 percent of off-road terrain, including slopes and various elevations. Capabilities include revolutionary wheel-to-track and suspension technologies that would enable access and faster travel both on- and off-road, compared to existing ground vehicles.

Next generation off-roading would mean that US military vehicles can avoid roads that have IED (Improvised Explosive Devices). By driving anywhere, it would tougher for enemy forces to bomb US vehicles. The new vehicles would then be able to use less armor.

* Reconfigurable Wheel-Track (RWT)
Wheels permit fast travel on hard surfaces while tracks perform better on soft surfaces. A team from Carnegie Mellon University National Robotics Engineering Center (CMU NREC) demonstrated shape-shifting wheel-track mechanisms that transition from a round wheel to a triangular track and back again while the vehicle is on the move, for instant improvements to tactical mobility and maneuverability on diverse terrains.

*Electric In-hub Motor
Putting motors directly inside the wheels offers numerous potential benefits for combat vehicles, such as heightened acceleration and maneuverability with optimal torque, traction, power, and speed over rough or smooth terrain. In an earlier demonstration, QinetiQ demonstrated a unique approach, incorporating three gear stages and a complex thermal management design into a system small enough to fit a standard military 20-inch rim.

* Multi-mode Extreme Travel Suspension (METS)
Pratt & Miller’s METS system aims to enable high-speed travel over rough terrain while keeping the vehicle upright and minimizing occupant discomfort. The vehicle demonstrator incorporates standard military 20-inch wheels, advanced short-travel suspension of four-to-six inches, and a novel high-travel suspension that extends up to six feet – 42 inches upward and 30 inches downward. The demonstration in May showed off its ability to tackle steep slopes and grades by actively and independently adjusting the hydraulic suspension on each wheel of the vehicle.

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