#660: Tracklets

Various off-road vehicles are now being equipped with rubber tracks rather than the traditional multi-link metal ones that have been around since 1916 or so.

This offers many advantages such as reduced roadwear and noise but today’s invention takes things a step further. The vehicles would have multiple wheel units which would allow them still to move if one was damaged. The rubber tracks would each be moulded in a single loop, with no joints. A number of these loops would be carried on the exterior of the vehicle (possibly compressed flat).

When a track needed replaced, the wheels on its unit would be spun to shed any remnants and the vehicle driven to a fresh patch of ground. A track loop would be dumped off the back and made to stand on its tread. Some wheels on the unshod unit would be drawn in radially and the vehicle skewed so that they enter the central space like fingers fitting inside a bracelet. The wheels would then be expanded to locate the rubber track on their rims.

Many track loops could be carried and vehicles could even swap loops rapidly -without occupants ever having to dismount.

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