Here’s how the Liddiard omni-directional wheel works
Canadian inventor William Liddiard has designed revolutionary new omni-directional wheels that allow a car to move in all directions and even turn on the spot. They are not commercially available yet, but it probably won’t be long before they are.
While omni-directional wheels have been around for a while, such as the Mecanum wheel, Liddiard says these are the first that don’t require the body of an auto or forklift to be built around them, but rather can be bolted on to a vehicle.
“They are stronger, faster, and more accurately controlled than (others),” Liddiard says on his YouTube video of the wheels in action. “They can take a beating. The tires “can” have the same build characteristics (siping, grooves, rubber compounds, etc.) as regular tires. Now you can drive in all directions, and turn on the spot, when needed.”
Watch Liddiard’s wheels in action here:
While the wheels are still prototypes, Liddiard put them on to his Toyota Echo to demonstrate how easily the car can move. Parallel parking would be a cinch with Liddiard wheels, as the car could slide into the smallest of spaces. An automobile with these tires fitted can move backwards, forwards, diagonally, sideways and perform a 360-degree turn on the spot.
So, how do Liddiard wheels work?
The wheel involves a specially designed rim and tire, with free-spin rollers mounted around the periphery of the rim plate. Motorized rollers are installed on the rim hub and, when activated, rotate the tire horizontally.
The rubber tire is mounted over the rim and the free spin rollers also rotate along with the tire and provide it with support. When all tires rotate in the same direction, the car moves sideways. When the front and rear tires move in opposite directions, the car rotates around its axis, providing the incredible mobility in tight spaces Liddiard demonstrates in the video.
Watch Liddiard’s explainer video on how the wheels work.
Liddiard says his wheels are designed to be used in all weather and road conditions, can be fitted to any vehicle and are tougher than what is currently on the market. Not bad for an invention he says he designed in his free time.
“I had to improvise a lot, use the materials available to me, and work on it sparingly when I could find the time,” he said. ” Unlike other omni-capable wheels, my wheels do not require the vehicle to be built around them. This is a world first bolt-on application for anything with wheels.”