Automotive

Thrustcycle demos new version of its self-balancing SRT

Thrustcycle demos new version ...
Thrustcycle has unveiled a new version of its self-balancing inline-wheeled prototype electric vehicle, the SRT
Thrustcycle has unveiled a new version of its self-balancing inline-wheeled prototype electric vehicle, the SRT
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Thrustcycle has unveiled a new version of its self-balancing inline-wheeled prototype electric vehicle, the SRT
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Thrustcycle has unveiled a new version of its self-balancing inline-wheeled prototype electric vehicle, the SRT
Thrustcycle has unveiled a new version of its self-balancing inline-wheeled prototype electric vehicle, the SRT
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Thrustcycle has unveiled a new version of its self-balancing inline-wheeled prototype electric vehicle, the SRT

Back in August, we heard about a self-balancing prototype vehicle known as the Thrustcycle SRT. Utilizing a flywheel-based gyroscopic stabilizing system, the electric vehicle was able to remain upright on its three inline wheels, even when standing still. The flywheel also served as a kinetic energy recovery system, helping to extend the vehicle's range by storing energy that would otherwise be lost when braking. Now, four months later, Thrustcycle Enterprises has contacted us with information about the latest version of the EV, and provided some video of it being driven around ... and getting the crap kicked out of it.

Unlike the previous prototype, the new SRT has just two main wheels, one in front of the other. Power is provided to the front wheel, while steering is accomplished with the rear. Wheeled outriggers have also been added on either side, presumably for added security should the flywheel stop, or to provide support in sharply-banked turns.

Thrustcycle has unveiled a new version of its self-balancing inline-wheeled prototype electric vehicle, the SRT
Thrustcycle has unveiled a new version of its self-balancing inline-wheeled prototype electric vehicle, the SRT

Whereas the other vehicle was open to the elements on the sides, this one appears to be more weather-resistant, with an enclosed body featuring a clear domed canopy on top. According to the company, future prototypes should incorporate more practical considerations, such as a lighter carbon fiber body, retractable side wheels, lights and turn signals. There are also plans for a front wheel-steered scooter, along with flywheel-powered watercraft and a hovercraft.

In the meantime, check out the current version of the Thrustcycle SRT in the video below. Although the driving footage is rather ... sedate, the vehicle does a fine job of keeping itself upright while someone attempts to kick it over.

Gyroscope in Prototype Covered Cycle for Rock-Solid Stability

19 comments
Slowburn
It\'s nice to see that they fixed the off center forward vision but the rear wheel steering is still asking to kill someone.
yrag
There is certainly something interesting and notable going on here, but they really need to bring in a designer to create an exciting body and easy entrance and exit if they want to generate any commercial interest.
Mel Tisdale
What a pity to spend so much time and effort, and not a small amount of money too, on something with such a serious design flaw as rear wheel steering - positively lethal.
see3d
All they have to do is put in a reverse gear and problem solved -- front steering and rear wheel drive. Might need to turn the drivers seat around also ;-) This is obviously just a proof of concept for the flywheel stabilizer and energy recovery. That is the 10% of the job to designing a real product, but a nice concept demo.
Paul Anthony
Why oh why did they choose rear wheel steering? There must be a reason, perhaps they want to make it safer to do high speed reversing? I don\'t get it.
Grant-53
The body still needs refinement and maybe a lambo style door. The stability is good and hopefully the power to weight ratio is approaching 36 lb/hp with rider. The body can be cleaned up so the Cd is below 0.15. The kick test showed a fair amont of side compliance in the suspension system but this easy to fix. The rear steering is viable IF the castor geometry is correct. See the chapter on rear steering in Wilson\'s \"Bicycling Science\". The steering axis is angled forward and the trail is best BEHIND the steering axis. I would want a larger diameter rear wheel and at least 4 inches of well dampened travel. Remember, people used to think riding more than 30 mph caused suffocation!
Thrustcycle E1
Rear wheel steering has always been considered highly unstable.Our gyro system eliminates that inherent instability.In short, \"We did it because we could\".
Grunchy
Heh the reason for rear-wheel steering is more diabolical than that. I read into the Thrustcycle website and I found a respectful reference to Buckminster\'s Dymaxion! People here may not realize it or remember it, but the Dymaxion was a 3 wheeler tadpole with, you guessed it, rear-wheel steering. If you watch some youtube footage of Buckminster, there\'s at least one shot of him tooling down the highway with his hands completely off the wheel. Single track vehicle dynamics are not completely or even well understood. What I find exciting about Thrustcycle\'s gyro stabilizer is that it could make, for instance, the Acabion a viable road vehicle. Not that I would condone a missile like that being licensed for road use in my country... :)
Roger Davis
NHTSA tried rear wheel steering for a test motorcycle many years ago. Kenny Roberts (national champ, world champ, etc...) couldn\'t ride it, the whole idea was tossed.
Also, Bendix Corp. tried the same thing on a bicycle, same result. REAR WHEEL STEERING FOR TWO WHEEL VEHICLES HAS BEEN TRIED AND DOES NOT WORK.
I think the speed was limited by this factor, and only possible because of the mechanized stabilization.
Thrustcycle E1
Rear wheel steering works quite well at any speed with our gyro system correcting the imbalance. However, we never intended to make a production vehicle without a more conventional front wheel steering system.Without our gyro system in operation, rear wheel steering is impractical and very difficult to control.