Omnidirectional wheels have been around for a while, but they are mostly used on utility vehicles like forklifts. London-based inventor William Liddiard has created a special set of omni wheels that can be bolted on to any car, allowing it to move in any direction, spin 360 degrees and slide into a parallel park with ease.
"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," Liddiard wrote in the description of a YouTube video he uploaded to show how his invention works on an old Toyota Echo. "They are stronger, faster, and more accurately controlled than prior art. 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."
While the "Liddiard Wheels" shown in the video are just proof of concept prototypes, they seem to work as described by the inventor. His ca can be seen spinning in place and sliding from one side to the other as the tires move under the power of 24,000 pounds of torque applied directly to them.
William is now hoping that the power of social media will help him get his invention out there and eventually team up with a company willing to help him refine the wheels and eventually bring them to the market.
A set of wheels that make lateral parking a breeze? Yeah, I'm pretty sure these things will be in high demand if they ever end up on the market.