General Question

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Why don't we have wheels that can go at 90 degree angles?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (19840points) June 17th, 2021
14 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

Wouldn’t it help to parallel park?

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LuckyGuy's avatar

Don’t forget this experimental fifth wheel method installed on a 1951 Cadillac. It used the spare tire to do the job.

And while we’re on the subject jeck out these two designs.
British Pathe
1948 Cars of the Future

Why don’t we do that today? Because it is expensive, unreliable, and highly risky. A failure in the mechanism while driving at speed would be disastrous. The negatives far outweigh the small benefit the system offers.

AK's avatar

That would exert a lot of wear and tear on the axles and gear box. You might need a separate gear box for those 90 degree thrusts. Not worth the effort IMO, especially since we can park in tight spots with the existing stucture (with adequate practice of course).

Smashley's avatar

Easier to let the robots handle parallel parking in the future, rather than reinventing the wheel.

kritiper's avatar

The extreme angle would greatly accelerate tire wear, to name one. It wouldn’t help the way people drive, and that’s for sure…

elbanditoroso's avatar

Some of the high-end vehicles on the market will do automatic parallel parking for you.


As Alfred E Neumann used to say, “what, me worry?”

zenvelo's avatar

To make it “easier” to parallel park, all four wheels would have to turn 90 degrees, and all four wheels would need to be “in drive” (connected to the drive shaft for power),

Terribly expensive and overkill for a skill that any average intelligence 16 year old can master.

Forever_Free's avatar

Also reminds me of the failure by the Post Office.

My Uncle drove one and tipped it over several times.

LostInParadise's avatar

When you say wheels at a 90 degree angle, do you mean all four wheels? I would think that requires a fairly complex setup.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Forever_Free That was a fun article. I remember seeing those scooters for sale as government surplus. I didn’t buy one.

zenvelo's avatar

When I was in college a guy at another fraternity had one of those old postal three wheel scooters, he used it for transporting beer kegs.

kneesox's avatar

Makes me think of the tangle that grocery cart wheels get into sometimes, when they don’t all line up right. I’d hate to get stuck partway into a parking space with one cockeyed wheel. What would I have to do, lift the car?

kritiper's avatar

Keep in mind that there are lots of bells and whistles that can be put on a car but the cost of the car would be so high that no one could afford it. So putting a 90 degree steering system on a car would be expensive, high maintenance, and not practical.

LuckyGuy's avatar

This reminds of the Simpson’s Homer car.

gorillapaws's avatar

There are Mecanum Wheels. Not practical for driving down the road though.

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