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A new and completely insane bit of design has just emerged from Finland. It’s an 18-wheeler that was built to conquer any kind of off-road obstacle imaginable. The 18-wheeler machine is more creature than a vehicle. This thing looks like a centipede flowing over obstacles. It hardly looks inanimate. Ok, you might be wondering what kind of bizarre 18-wheeler could possibly be described like this. Well, it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen. 

The craziest off-roader is an 18-wheeler

Helsinki-based ‘18 Wheels‘ is here, and it looks like it came from outer space, not Finland. Be that as it may, this Finnish prototype is based on a crazy patented suspension system that integrates seamlessly with each of the 18 wheels. Not only does each wheel have its own suspension system that provides a unique trajectory of movement, but it is also equipped with an independent electric motor inside of each of them. These wild features culminate in a vehicle that seems to glide over obstacles as if they weren’t even there. 

“Our all-terrain vehicle can overcome large obstacles at high speed. I mean rocks up to 35 centimeters (14 inches) high, fallen trees, curbs, and even stairs. Our all-terrain vehicle can drive over stairs. I dare say no other vehicle on this planet can do that,” said inventor and founder of 18 Wheels, Eldar Aliev. 

Are bigger tires better for off-roading?

Action shot of the 18 Wheeler Prototype driving over a fallen tree
18 Wheels Prototype | 18 Wheels

We are programmed to throw giant tires on our trucks when we want to take them off-road. While bigger tires can offer more ground clearance and sometimes more tire surface for traction, the Fins have gone hard in the other direction. 

We know that smaller wheels are better for off-roading than larger wheels. However, we aren’t used to seeing tiny tires, too. This wild little ATV has 18 tiny wheels. The thinking is that the smaller the wheel, the less energy it will receive when it hits an obstacle. If the tiny tires can hit obstacles more softly, and the suspension handles the articulation needed, the vehicle can pass over obstacles much more quickly. 

Aliev claims his team has lowered the unsprung weight by a factor of 10, so the impact when hitting an obstacle is 10 times lower than a traditional heavier vehicle.

When it comes to off-roading, less is more

18 Wheels Prototype ATV off-roader
18 Wheels Prototype | 18 Wheels

We love to build giant trucks for off-roading. Tons of power and tons of rubber, that’s how we do it. However, when you consider the greatest off-road 4×4 models in history, they are nearly all small, lightweight, and have small engines. Consider the Suzuki Jimny, the Toyota pickup truck, the original Jeep Willys, and basically every ATV ever made. 

These great 4x4s all prove Aliev’s claims. The smaller and lighter a vehicle is, the better it can navigate harsh terrain. A bonus for the 18-wheeler is that because it is so lightweight and isn’t overpowered, unlike four-wheelers, it doesn’t churn up the ground. You can drive it on dirt and grass without disturbing the earth. “Our all-terrain vehicle puts very low pressure on the ground, so it does not damage the soil, grass, and lawn,” Aliev said.

In order to get to the next stage of development and production, the firm is now seeking investors. Once the funding is secured and the necessary updates are made to finalize the prototype, an official reveal should happen later this year.