Cars use wheels. Wheels are hailed as one of the most important inventions in history.
The modern transport system needs expensive infrastructure. That this is due to our almost
exclusive use of wheels and not an absolute necessity for efficient and safe transportation
is suggested here. Moreover wheels kill. Due to the requirement of a flat substratum
one gets the inevitable secondary effect that this same substratum can become very slippery
leading to cars loosing control with many people killed and injured every year.
The circular shape of the wheels makes it difficult to vary the direction of the force at the
point of contact. Therefore, it is difficult to recover the manoeuverability of the car once
it has begun to slide (eg on a thin film of water which sometimes happens.)
Another problem is that since cars need a flat substratum and the wheels have little freedom
of motion relative to the car, once it seriously looses control, the system has no safe way of
recovering stable motion and the outcome is many times catastrophic.
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One way to get a much better grip between car and substratum is to use feet instead of wheels.
Then problems like watersliding could easily be avoided. Further the substratum need not be
of the usual type. It might still be practical to use roads, but much cruder and hence less expensive
roads would be needed.
The US military has developed walking vehicles. In Finland such vehicles
are apparently used in forrestry. In all likeliness military fighting robots and or vehicles
will evolve along such lines.
Using modern fast computer technology, it seems probable to me
that such walking vehicles could be made to maintain the passenger cabin in a stable horisontal
motion even if the substratum would have a strongly variable topography. I suggest it would be possible
to achieve a much stabler environment inside such a cabin than could ever be accomplished using
conventional car/road combinations. You could have a coin standing on its edge without ever
flipping over while travelling at high speed in most any terrain. This is one of the more mundane spinoffs that I expect
to follow from the space projects if the ordinary military haven't done it before.
If such a vehicle is subjected to something unexpected and temporarily looses control it has
a reasonable chance of handling the situation using the legs/feet.
Of course if there would be something seriously wrong with the guidance system it could shake
its travellers to pieces even on a flat substratum. Every form of technology needs to mature.
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