Moonbuggy heads for the hills

The fells of the Lake District and the Glens of the Highlands may soon be more accessible to disabled people due to a project inspired by a radio interview with a representative of SCOPE.

Angela Drane’s comments on the need for improved equipment for disabled people inspired David Mellor, of Westlakes Ventures, and fellow Cumbrian engineer, Rodney Smith, to embark on the `Moon Buggy’ project – the design of an all-wheel drive, all-terrain vehicle for exploring the great outdoors.

The prototype is complete, and, after field tests have been carried out on some of the Lakeland’s roughest terrain and toughest peaks, manufacture of the vehicle will begin.

A small petrol engine driving four hydraulic motors propels the vehicle at walking speed and generates enough torque for it to climb hills and traverse rocky ground

Other design features include full access to the buggy from the front and the option to add many types of specialist seating, including some wheelchair frames.

The controls, which are designed to be servo-operated, may be located either on the vehicle or on a radio control panel, so that a companion walking alongside can drive it on behalf of the user.