Humans are instinctually repulsed by creatures with too many legs or too many eyes. As it turns out, it's this same deep-seated aversion that makes me feel very weird about this ATV with a strange 18-wheeled design.
As shared on YouTube by Your Future Car, "The ATV" is the creation of 18 Wheels, a company based in Helsinki, Finland. The electric-powered off-road rig has one motor in each of its 18 wheels, hence the name. Its unique design allows it to roll over obstacles at speed and up to 7.8 inches high. Tree trunks, rocks, curbs, and even stairs can all be crested by the machine, which has a nifty suspension design that makes its wheels act almost like tank treads.
The aim of the design was to create an ATV that could travel off-road without damaging the surface it rode upon. Hence, having 18 wheels makes sense. It massively reduces the ground pressure of the vehicle by spreading the weight across a much larger area. Meanwhile, the suspension design allows wheels to fold back and then roll over obstacles, further reducing impact on the terrain. The combination has a centipede-esque vibe that is unsettling until you learn to ignore it.
The vehicle's capabilities are quite unlike most conventional ATVs. In the video, we see the first prototype scrambling over big piles of jagged rocks, driving through shallow water, and even bouncing over tree trunks on the ground like they're no trouble at all.
The team is hard at work on a second prototype with an altogether more advanced steering and suspension system. The new revision may solve some of the minor issues that can be seen in testing, like the current model's tendency to dive when tackling certain obstacles.
It's cool to see the 18 Wheels ATV scrambling over weird obstacles in an insectoid-like fashion, even if our first reaction was mild discomfort due to its strange appearance. There are clearly some neat benefits to the unusual design, and we'd love to take it for a spin through the woods at the earliest opportunity.
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