The invention generally relates to a vehicle (large or small), cart, robot, etc. that uses a mono-track (e.g., single-track or uni-track) for its main motion in place of wheels or multiple tracks, although the invention could be applied to multi-track and wheeled vehicles as an aid toward turning. The mono-track vehicle (MTV) steers with a set of appendages that extend from the sides of the vehicle. These steering appendages steer by either causing drag on one side of the vehicle or by titling the vehicle to one side so as to cause the MTV to turn. The MTV has several uses including a radio controlled car, a platform for a metal detection sensor system, etc.
The vehicle disclosed herein includes some form of frame and a motorized belt track directly or indirectly connected to the frame. For example, the belt track can be supported by powered or unpowered wheels, rollers, ball bearings, etc. that are directly or indirectly connected to the frame. The belt track frictionally contacts a drive surface on which the vehicle moves, such as any form of road or off-road surface. The belt track moves (drives) forward and backward in a direction parallel to a center line of the belt track to move the vehicle backward and forward along the drive surface.
The steering appendage is adapted to frictionally contact the drive surface. The steering appendage is off the center line of the belt track, and causes the vehicle to turn from the center line of the belt track when in contact with the drive surface. The steering appendage is adapted to be moved, such that the steering appendage can be selectively placed in contact with the drive surface and selectively removed from the drive surface. The steering appendage comprises an arm and a contact pad. A pivot joint can be used to directly or indirectly connect the steering appendage to the frame.
Embodiments herein therefore provide a method of controlling a travel direction of a mono-track vehicle. This method moves the motorized belt track along the drive surface and frictionally contacts the steering appendage to the drive surface. Because the steering appendage is off the center line of the belt track, the steering appendage causes the vehicle to turn from the center line of the belt track when in contact with the drive surface.
These, and other, aspects of the present invention will be better appreciated and understood when considered in conjunction with the following description and the accompanying drawings. It should be understood, however, that the following description, while indicating preferred embodiments of the present invention and numerous specific details thereof, is given by way of illustration and not of limitation. Many changes and modifications may be made within the scope of the present invention without departing from the spirit thereof, and the invention includes all such modifications.
*Patent Status: U.S. patent(s) 7,543,664 issued.CONTACT:
Dr. G. R. Jacobovitz
Phone: (443) 778-9899