GearHeads.org Looks at Robotic Wheelchairs - Could Walking Cars be Next?

The Cutting Edge News and Views Auto Website Features the Chiba Robotics Walking Wheelchair Among the Hot Rods, Hybrids and Hemis.

Rogers, AR October 31, 2012


Among the daily stream of Gearheads.org articles on the latest car and truck models, classic cars, and auto efficiency is a mechanical design of a different kind: The Chiba Robotics Wheelchair, a technological breakthrough of interest to gearheads everywhere, begging the question: could robotic advances in wheelchair technology have a future impact on the automobile? It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but it may not be as far-fetched as people think.

The Chiba Robotics Wheelchair differs from other modern wheelchairs in a fundamental way: instead of simply rolling (making curbs, steps and uneven terrain unmanageable), it "walks" with robotic legs when necessary. The wheelchair, which automatically allows its owner to switch from motorized rolling on wheels to legs depending on the environment, keeps the person safely stable the whole time.

"Imagine a car that automatically balances itself with robotic legs instead of rolling over on a steep incline," says Gearheads.org co-owner Brian Barret. "If cars could walk, there would be a whole new definition of 'all-terrain vehicle.'"

Chiba has no plans to implement their motorized wheel-legs onto automobiles; getting the technology right on a wheelchair is challenging enough. But, just as robotics may well change the face of wheelchairs for the disabled, they will likely play a part in the cars and trucks of the future.

Always on the lookout for hot topics of interest to the mechanical hobbyist, the GearHeads.org staff is made up of auto enthusiasts from industry insiders to passionate drivers, all providing news, opinion, and gossip from the automotive world.

To keep up with the latest offerings, GearHeads.org offers a Twitter feed, a Facebook fan page, and a Google+ profile. There's no edgier source for car information, news, reviews, and rumors. Access to Gearheads.org is free, and no membership or registration is required.

About GearHeads.org

Led by Chris Riley and Bryan Barrett, GearHeads.org is a haven for car enthusiasts, casual drivers, car shoppers, automotive journalists and all-around gear heads who crave a trusted source where they can access the latest information, news, reviews, rants and rumors. Learn more at GearHeads.org. legacy - and some of the boldest, edgiest views on cars around.

Featured Product

SCHUNK's New Safety Gripping System EGN

SCHUNK's New Safety Gripping System EGN

With the SLS, SOS, and STO functionalities, the SCHUNK EGN gripping system certified in accordance with DIN EN ISO 13849 enables safe human/machine collaboration. If the production process is interrupted by an emergency shut-off, the SCHUNK EGN goes into either a safely limited speed mode or a safe stop mode depending on the activated protection zone. In contrast to other solutions available on the market, the SCHUNK safety gripping system is continuously powered even in the safe operating stop so that the gripped parts are reliably held even without mechanical maintenance of gripping force. As soon as the protection zone is released, the gripper immediately switches back to the regular operating mode without the system having to be restarted.