Readers of Special Weapons for Military & Police learned last fall about the Shredder, a dual-tracked vehicle with a vertical control pedestal for control and rider stability. Although the company developing the Shredder has concentrated on creating a commercial version for extreme sports, off-roading and recreational riders, the U.S. military also has expressed interest in the little vehicle as a personal transport device for infantry. The Shredder’s Honda four-stroke, 18-horsepower engine is capable of generating 30-mph speeds over rough terrain, giving foot soldiers an order of magnitude more mobility than walking. The DTV is also scalable, so the Shredder can expand in size and capacity to carry equipment and supplies.
The Shredder is the brainchild of Ben Gulak, a Canadian entrepreneur and engineering mastermind. Gulak also is a college student, now attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who began accumulating engineering excellence awards for developing the Uno, an electrically powered unicycle, as a high school science project.
Gulak’s concept is a simple, straightforward device. It involves a platform that looks like a warped skateboard mounted between two tracks, giving it the look of a tiny tank. The platform stands on top of the Honda propulsion system and steers with body english, leaning left or right to tilt the deck like a skateboarder. The upright brace with handlebars enables the rider to steady himself at high speed, accelerate and brake with motorcycle controls. If the military opts for the Shredder, the likelihood is it will be a larger machine that incorporates a cargo deck and possibly a seat, as well as a larger engine. They have already built a 48-horsepower version. The Hybrid system, aka: The Jackal, has a 48-horsepower rotary engine that powers a generator and 2-hub motors for individual track control.