Remember those funky wheels on the cars in the movie “I, Robot”? Well it turns out they’re sort of real. Airtrax make a range of warehouse vehicles that use a unique, omni-directional wheel. Controlled via a joystick instead of a wheel-and-pedals, the Airtrax system is extremely manoeuvrable allowing the vehicles to move forwards/backwards, side-to-side or rotate within their own length. So far Airtrax have released a forklift called the Sidewinder, a scissor-lift called the Cobra and an omni-directional mobile platform called the MP2. There are videos of the vehicles in action on the site as well.
The term Omni-Directional means “capable of moving in any direction”. that is exactly what Airtrax vehicles are designed to be. In fact, our vehicles are holonomic, which is to say that they can change direction instantaneously, without stopping, without changing the orientation of the wheels, and without moving in some undesired direction, prior to moving in the desired direction.