This unique prototype has a unique style of clambering over any obstacle.
Speaking with Ilia Timoshkov, CEO and Co-Founder of 18Wheels, we learned that this first prototype was able to easily scamper over objects that are up to 14 inches tall, and it could climb obstacles that are more than 7.8 inches tall such as curbs, fallen trees, and rocks. Each of the 18 wheels has a built-in, waterproof electric motor. This unique suspension design allows the wheels to act like tank treads, providing unmatched traction while also massively reducing ground pressure by spreading the weight across a much larger surface area.
Wild riding dynamics aside, the Ilia says that the company has taken what has been learned from the original prototype and are ready to begin constructing a second more production-focused prototype later this year. The second-generation ATV will retain the 18-wheel design but swaps the suspension to a more traditional style with coilover shocks providing much of the spring rate and adding damping ability. The vehicle will retain the ability to climb 7.8-inch obstacles and has more than 14 inches of ground clearance. Steering has been modified as well, with each pair of left-and-right side suspension arms articulating in the center giving the vehicle the appearance like that of a centipede navigating curves.
Fans of science fiction writer Robert Heinlein recall the walker wagon from Farmer in the Sky:
I don't know how to describe the walker wagon—maybe you've seen pictures since. If a centipede were a dinosaur and made of metal to boot, it would be a walker wagon. The body of it was a sort of trough and it was supported by thirty-eight legs, nineteen on a side.
"That," I said, "is the craziest contraption I ever laid eyes on. You'll never shove it out the door."
...He led me around to the end of the contraption; the trough came nearly down to the floor in back. Hank helped me get inside, told me to lie down, and went up to the other end. "The guy that built this," he said, "must have been a hump-backed midget with four arms. Hang on."