#327: Magic carpet

Motor vehicles seem to get along fine, running on a small number of tyred wheels. Fine as long as you don’t consider eg

  • the effort (and cost) involved in scrubbing big fat tryes across tarmac
  • the problems of driving on ice and snow
  • the dangers of having a tyre blow out (or having one shot at)
  • the effects of limited suspension travel, when traversing rough terrain

Today’s invention is to provide ground vehicles with a computer-controlled, adaptive undercarriage platform containing a larger number of small wheels (say 40) with narrow tyres. A variable subset of these wheels would be electrically driven by the engine at any time (dependent upon the cornering dynamics at a particular moment and the sensed quality of local ground surface).


Each of these wheels could be steered and braked independently to provide near-to-optimal cornering, irrespective of the roughness of the terrain. To park the vehicle, lock the wheels against rotation then lift and lower them in waves, walking into the space.

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