QiniteQ secures $2.7m investment from US defence agency31 August 2016

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has announced a $2.7m investment in QinetiQ’s electric hub-drive technology, to bring it from concept stage to building and testing.

The hub-drive system is in development as part of DARPA’s Ground X-Vehicle Technologies (GXV-T) programme, under a $1.5m contract announced in September 2015. QinetiQ was the only non-US company selected to take part in the programme, which investigates breakthrough technologies that could revolutionise future military and commercial vehicles.

QinetiQ’s hub-drive replaces multiple gearboxes, differentials, and drive shafts with compact and high-powered electric motors contained completely within the wheels. This approach dramatically reduces overall platform weight and opens up new design possibilities for safety and performance.

The technology could also enhance existing military vehicles. For example, a multiple-wheeled infantry vehicle retrofitted with the hub-drive system could use the extra power and agility that comes with reduced weight, or use the saving to offset extra armour, equipment, or personnel.

Dr David Moore, director of Research Services at QinetiQ, says: “Conventional drive systems are heavy, place constraints on the use of space, and consist of components that can turn into lethal projectiles in the event of an explosion beneath the vehicle.

“Moving the drive system to within the wheels removes this threat and disrupts the trend of vehicles becoming heavier and less mobile due to increasing protection and weaponry.”

The latest investment will also include production of two fully working units.

The QinetiQ team is also looking at opportunities to introduce similar hub-drive systems into commercial sectors such as transport, agriculture, mining, and construction.

Moore adds: “The benefits of enhanced power, high torque, efficiency, and agility are not limited to military vehicles, so we are keen to explore opportunities to use this technology in new and innovative ways.”

Laura Cork

Related Companies

This material is protected by MA Business copyright
See Terms and Conditions.
One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not.
For multiple copies contact the sales team.