Home » The ‘Tow Track’ Is A Smart Little RC Robot Designed To Rescue Cars And/Or Pull Off Some Devious Pranks

The ‘Tow Track’ Is A Smart Little RC Robot Designed To Rescue Cars And/Or Pull Off Some Devious Pranks

Tow Track Ts1
ADVERTISEMENT

Recovering stricken cars can be a pain in the butt for tow operators. Their vehicles have to be big enough to carry or drag another vehicle, which can pose difficulties in some situations. Cars that break down in basements, multistory carparks, or down tight alleys can be virtually impossible to get to. For these difficult jobs, there’s a nifty solution that looks kind of fun to boot. Enter the Tow Track.

The Tow Track is a small, radio-controlled machine that gets around on tracks. It’s designed for lifting up road-going vehicles up to 4,850 pounds (2.2 metric tonnes) and moving them around. It’s designed to be small enough to chuck on a flatbed truck, so it can be driven to a vehicle in need of recovery. It can then be deployed, and used to recover the vehicle, before loading the vehicle and itself onto a flatbed to be driven away.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Created by Tracked Machines, it’s cited as particularly useful for recovering EVs, which cannot be towed with wheels on the ground. This is because when the wheels of an EV turn, they would back-drive the motors and generate electricity. That energy may not have anywhere to go, and could damage the EVs battery, electronics, or motor in the process. This is also useful when recovering many ICE-powered all-wheel-drive cars.

One limitation in this area is that quite a few EVs are right up against, or over, that 4,850-pound weight limit. Though, some materials from the company do cite a higher 5,500-pound limit. That would allow the Tow Track to handle the Tesla Model S and Lucid Air with some margin. Forget about the Hummer EV, though, which comes in at 9,640 pounds. Even the larger Tow Track XL can only handle up to 7,700 pounds (3.5 tonnes).

ADVERTISEMENT

The Tow Track is powered by a Briggs and Stratton gasoline engine delivering 35 horsepower, while the Tow Track XL uses a small 55-horsepower diesel engine. There’s also the Tow Track Electric, which runs on batteries instead.

1

6

10 (1)

The Tow Track isn’t just for directly lifting vehicles with its hydraulic extension arm, either. It can also be optioned with a 4.5 ton winch if so desired, so it can be driven to an area and used to pull a vehicle free from a muddy snare. The tracks are of particular benefit here, as their low ground pressure makes the Tow Track less likely to sink into the ground or lose grip. Oh, and it can also be fitted with a snow shovel for tending to ski resorts.

ADVERTISEMENT

Electric Towtrack 0 37 Screenshot

1 (3)

Ultimately, the Tow Track looks like a pretty useful bit of kit if you’re in the tow business. If you could rent one, it would also be a very funny way to steal your friend’s car from their driveway while they’re sipping their morning coffee. Imagine their confused shock as they saw a small robot slowly escaping with their pride and joy. It sounds like a prank worth bankrolling to me.

Image credits: Tracked Machines, Tracked Machines via YouTube screenshot

ADVERTISEMENT
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
18 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sbzr
Sbzr
18 days ago

just doesn’t seem to be possible to take a vehicle from the side, like if it was in a parallel parking spot?

Towman
Towman
17 days ago
Reply to  Sbzr

Wheel dollies, easy…

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
17 days ago
Reply to  Sbzr

Parallel parking rarely involves restricted access. The usual trick is a truck that pulls up alongside and uses a special hydraulic lift.

Cayde-6
Cayde-6
18 days ago

Okay, now hear me out: no more parallel parking

Sklooner
Sklooner
18 days ago

I know somebody who had their parkade flood in cold weather and their model 3 was frozen into about 15cm of ice- they used steam to melt the ice but he couldn’t confirm how they were going to pull the car out afterwards, before he spent too much time on the tow company his insurance company totaled the thing without even looking at it

SolamenteDave
SolamenteDave
18 days ago
Reply to  Sklooner

I’ve never heard the word “parkade.” I had to look it up. So, a parking garage? I like parkade much better and will see if I can work it into conversation.

Reauxtide
Reauxtide
18 days ago
Reply to  SolamenteDave

Thank you for taking to time to comment on the definition.

Sadly, it appears my brain now categorizes words I haven’t seen before as a someone’s poor spelling or typo instead of triggering investigation.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
18 days ago

“It’s designed for lifting up road-going vehicles up to 4,850 pounds (2.2 metric tonnes)”

So basically only good for cars built sometime before 2020?

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
18 days ago

Parking garages often have small dollies that you can slip under each wheel. Once all four are in place the cars can be moved around by hand.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
18 days ago

I can’t say this seems like it solves a real problem. I frequently move vehicles by hand or by dragging it with a four wheeler or a car.

I don’t buy that any AWD systems out there would be damaged by being rolled 100 feet out of the parking garage on its own wheels. I get the impression that it’s less “it will break if you tow it with the wheels on the ground” and more “if you tow it more than 30mph or more than 5 miles it can get hot and may sustain damage”.

Especially because plenty of tow trucks drivers regularly do drag AWD cars short distances on their wheels.

Diana Slyter
Diana Slyter
18 days ago

The Post Office’s Motor Vehicle Service might be a customer- They’ve had a hard time finding tow trucks that could handle the weight of an LLV and fit in low clearance garages.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
18 days ago
Reply to  Diana Slyter

Really? An LLV is an S10 with a lightweight aluminum body, I can’t imagine they weigh more than 4000lb. Making them an average weight car.

Last edited 18 days ago by Rust Buckets
Tbird
Tbird
18 days ago

Surprised EV’s don’t have some sort a freewheel function for just such an eventuality. Surely you could put a clutch of some sort in the reduction gearset.

Mrbrown89
Mrbrown89
18 days ago
Reply to  Tbird

Mine has tow mode, but I think is more about releasing the vehicle to put it on a flat bed from a parking spot.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
18 days ago
Reply to  Tbird

Better than a clutch would be a dog ring, since it only very rarely needs to be used it’s more important to have a strong and simple engagement than a smooth one.

Uberscrub
Uberscrub
18 days ago
Reply to  Tbird

They may, but tow trucks are not always called by the owner of a car.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
18 days ago

“Back in my day we had people who pushed the car out of the garage. We called them men.”
(with apologies to Agnes Skinner)

18
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x