Omnidirectional wheels have been around for decades but that doesn’t stop us imagining the day they’ll finally become practical to use. The latest video to inspire this omnidirectional dreaming comes from William Liddiard, a Canadian inventor who’s come up with his own take on the classic design. You can see the so-called Liddiard Wheels in action above, fitted to what appears to be a Toyota Echo.
these wheels can be bolted onto any car without modifications
Liddiard claims that unlike other omnidirectional wheels, his design doesn’t require any extra modifications to the car. They simply bolt on, he says, and they’re ready to use. They’re also designed to be functional in “all weather and road conditions,” and have the “same build characteristics” as regular tires — i.e. a standard rubber composition and functional treads.
The wheels in the video above are only a prototype, but back in March Liddiard said that he was looking to sell the design to a company like Goodyear or Honda. Certainly more refinement is needed before the wheels would ever be ready for commercial use. For example, Liddiard says his current design delivers a frankly unbelievable 24,000 pounds of torque or rotational force to the wheels. That’s many times more torque than a tank, and in a comment on the video Liddiard admits that this was a mistake, and that future designs would need a different gearing ratio if they were going to move with any speed. Your parallel parking omnidirectional dreams will have to wait a little longer.