DARPA’s Reconfigurable Wheel-Track Transforms From Wheel To Track In Two Seconds

Most military ground vehicles are equipped with either tires or tracks but DARPA’s Ground X-Vehicle Technologies (GXV-T) program has given birth to a unique system which can transform from a wheel into a track.

Dubbed the “Reconfigurable Wheel-Track,” the device attempts to combine the fast speeds allowed by tires with the extreme off-roading ability provided by tracks. The RWT was developed by a team from Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center and the shape-shifting device can transition from a round wheel into a triangular track in two seconds while the vehicle is still moving.

The military apparently sees a lot of potential in this design as they noted it provides “instant improvements to tactical mobility and maneuverability on diverse terrains.”

DARPA didn’t say how the system works but the video shows it uses six different brackets which are each equipped with four different wheels. The brackets remain in an extended position when the RWT is in wheel mode and then retract to transform into track mode.

The Reconfigurable Wheel-Track is one of the technologies that was recently demonstrated as part of the GXV-T program which aims to improve mobility, survivability and effectiveness of future combat vehicles without using tons of armor. As Maj. Amber Walker explained, DARPA is taking a “radically different approach” to mobility by “avoiding armor and developing options to move quickly and be agile over all terrain.”

Among the other technologies that are part of the program are an electric in-hub motor and a multi-mode extreme travel suspension. The latter was developed by Pratt & Miller and has an independently adjusting hydraulic suspension for each wheel. This gives the model extreme off-road capability as the suspension has 6 feet (1.8 meters) of travel – 42 inches (1066 mm) upward and 30 inches (762 mm) downward.

Thanks to Roger for the tip!

  • Mike anonymous

    Now THAT is smart.

    It’s been a while since I’ve seen something that “real” and innovative regarding the “wheel” of a vehicle. We usually get all of these future tire concepts that don’t really do much than serve the same purpose as tires (or wheels) do today. But this is really innovative and is quite cool. (Maybe it could be something that could translate well into “more piratical” off road vehicles in the near future).

    • Perry F. Bruns

      And it’ll help the rest of us road drivers given the slashing of street and highway maintenance budgets across the country.

  • Status

    And they said off-road and rural settings would be impossible for an autonomous vehicle.

  • Jay

    Pretty great stuff here. And check it out they most rely on a human driver, now that’s futuristic.

  • Alfa Giulia QV

    I’ll take one of those, please.

    • Bash

      Actually four please. 😉

  • FactChecker90803

    WANT!!!! for my 2017 Wrangler Rubicon Recon Unlimited.

  • SgtBeavis

    That is some crazy awesome stuff right there.


  • Bash

    Wow, that’s Batman gadget right there!!

    • donald seymour

      I thought the same thing. The tumbler suspension system.

  • SteersUright

    Holy crap. After watching that video it seems like Star Wars type battles are around the corner!

  • lagunas3ca

    About 2 seconds too late.

  • Blanka Li

    It’s cool but as soon as sand gets in there . . . not so sure.

  • john1168

    They got some fart smella’s in DARPA. Very cool stuff!

    • donald seymour


  • Paul

    That’s pretty amazing.

Grand Cherokee Summit Launches In Australia As Most Luxurious Version Of Jeep’s SUV

The most plush 2019 Grand Cherokee available will set you back AUD $84,450, plus on-road costs, and comes with an extensive list of equipment .

Forget About The Nürburgring – The 2020 Porsche Taycan Looks Best In Its Natural Habitat

Porsche just dropped a big photo gallery showing the 2020 Taycan during its international media drive event in Norway.

Infiniti Q50 Drops The Turbocharged Four-Cylinder Engine, Goes V6-Only For 2020

Pricing climbs by $750, but the 2020 Q50 now comes standard with 300 hp.

UAW Strike Already Causing Ripple Effects As GM Forced To End Truck Production In Canada

A lack of part shipments could also force dealers to rely on deliveries from aftermarket companies such as PepBoys .

Ford Performance Launches New Off-Road Suspension Kits For Ranger, F-150

The suspension has been developed and tuned to improve the off-road characteristics of the two trucks and costs $1,495 before installation .

Hertz And Hendrick Motorsports Team Up To Offer A Camaro With Up To 750 HP

Customers will also be able to rent a less extreme Camaro SS with 480 hp.

Land Rover Defender Inspired INEOS Grenadier Pushed Back To 2021, Will Be Built In New UK Plant

The upcoming SUV was inspired by the previous-generation Land Rover Defender.

2021 Jaguar XF Sportbrake Facelift Spied, Should Debut Late Next Year

The updated XF is slated to feature new engines as well as revised styling inside and out.

Musk Confident New Tesla Roadster Will Set Production Car Record At The ‘Ring

The new Roadster will pack a 200 kWh battery and three electric motors and will do the 0-60 mph sprint in just 1.9 seconds!.

Should You Want A 2019 Jeep Compass In Your Life? (Spoiler Alert: No)

Despite looking good, the Compass has some glaring faults, such as an underpowered engine and sluggish auto gearbox.