December 14, 2017

Apparently someone saw the scene in Austin Powers where Austin gets his golf cart stuck in the hallway, trying to turn around, and thought, “I can fix this.”

That man’s name is William Liddiard and he is the inventor of the appropriately titled Liddiard Wheel – the omnidirectional wheels that “should” clear up a lot of the driver vs. driver interation. Where there’s cursing and gesticulating, there’s a hilarious problem that someone needs to pay attention to, and Mr. Liddiard has signed up for this one.

Close your eyes. Let’s go to the grocery store parking lot a few days back. Remember the spot right by the door? Yeah, the perfect one; clean, well painted, and ample door-opening space on not one, but both sides, in a comforting but not smothering hug. It was a spot you could move into. Forever. So you took it. The spot that opened up to you, that gave itself to you. The spot that let you take advantage of it, dare question the authority of it’s solid, clearly divisive line, then turned a blind eye when you took more than your fair share. Nary did it argue, nor criticize when you finally  acknowledged that your guilt would eat at you if you walked into that store whilst impeding on someone else’s freedom to park by the door. You back out, you pull in, you back out again, you say a prayer. Eventually you justify parking over the line as you remember all the times your freedoms had been imposed on, and you say out loud to anyone listening, waiting for your apology, “I’ll be quick!” and dash inside.

Well, you insensitive liar, you don’t have to do that anymore! Each of the Lilliard Wheels moves independently of the other 3, and can spin in either direction. If you’re having trouble visualizing, that means it can sliiide to the right, or sliiiide to the left without breaking the walls of physics.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this technology, however, it is the most recent, and the most promising. What makes Liddiard’s prototypes different is that these omni-directional wheels bolt on, so there is no need for extra kit or car part; just fancy, apocalypse tires – plain and simple.

The earlier versions of wheeled cars with omnidirectional wheels tended to be absurd, solar-powered, three-wheeled one-seater concept cars that debut briefly at Japanese car conventions before quietly slipping out of existence as uselessly as they arrived. With the bolt-on kit, omnidirectional tires acquire real accessibility and widespread adoption potential, depending on the torque and the cost of assembly. At the end of the day, the idea does solve a very real problem.

Back in March, Liddiard stated that he was interested in selling his idea to a big name corporation such as Goodyear or Honda, however, with the 24,000 pounds of torque – think an army tank, then multiply it by, like, ten – going in to power the wheels, Liddiard acknowledges that there will still need to be some modifications made in order for it to be a reasonable and marketable product.

Modern cars

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