Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
APPARATUS FOR ASSISTING IN VEHICLE RECOVERY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/204867
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An apparatus (5) for use in assisting in vehicle recovery is disclosed. The apparatus (5) comprising an element (10) restrainable at two locations along its length, and configured such that a tyre engaging the element between said two locations facilitates a physical response from element causing the element to establish, at least in part, a grip on the tyre.

Inventors:
BAILEY WALTER JOHN (AU)
Application Number:
AU2019/050361
Publication Date:
October 31, 2019
Filing Date:
April 23, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
BAILEY WALTER JOHN (AU)
International Classes:
B60B39/12
Foreign References:
JPS51140936U1976-11-13
US4360153A1982-11-23
US2248537A1941-07-08
US1159657A1915-11-09
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
IP SENTINELS PATENT AND TRADEMARK ATTORNEYS (AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
The claims defining the invention are as follows:

1 . An apparatus for use in assisting in vehicle recovery, the apparatus comprising an element restrainable at two locations along its length, and configured such that a tyre engaging the element between said two locations facilitates a physical response causing the element to establish, at least in part, a grip on the tyre, wherein the locations are of a fixed distance from each other on opposite sides of the tyre when installed for use, wherein the locations are supported by at least two ground engaging planar portions for transferring weight to the ground without substantial subsidence or movement relative to the ground.

2. An apparatus according to claim 1 , further comprising a base comprising the at least two ground engaging planar portions, wherein a space between the ground engaging portions is able to receive a tyre

3. An apparatus for use in assisting in vehicle recovery, the apparatus comprising: a base comprising at least two spaced apart ground engaging planar portions, wherein a space between the spaced apart ground engaging portions is able to receive a tyre, an element operably engaged with the base at two (or more) locations along the element’s length, the element configured such that when the tyre engages the element between said two locations this facilitates a physical response causing the element to establish, at least in part, a grip on the tyre, engagement between the base and the element configured operable to leverage the grip on the tyre established by the element to, at least in part, increase the traction of the tyre and/or to lift the tyre relative to the base, wherein the locations are of a fixed distance from each other on opposite sides of the tyre when installed for use, wherein the locations are supported by the least two ground engaging planar portions for transferring weight to the ground without substantial subsidence or movement relative to the ground.

4. An apparatus according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the element is of elongate form having a uniform cross-section.

5. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the element is of a compliant form to allow the element to be shaped for engagement or contact with the tyre.

6. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the material of the element is of sufficient strength in tension so that the element is not at risk of structural failure due to contact with the tyre.

7. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims when dependent on claim 2, wherein the base has a surface area, the engagement between the base and the element configured operable to leverage the grip on the tyre established by the element to, at least in part, associate the surface area of the base with the tyre for the purposes of increasing the overall traction of the tyre relative to the support medium of the ground on which the base is placed.

8. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims when dependent on claim 2, wherein the base is of sufficient strength so that it is not at risk of structural failure due to any normal operational loading applied by the tyre.

9. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims when dependent on claim 2, wherein the element engages with the base at the two locations by way of a fastening system.

10. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the element is configured, positioned, or arranged so as to be capable of conforming substantially with a portion of the profile of the tyre during engagement therewith.

1 1 . An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein one end of the element is arranged operable with an adjustment means such that at least the length of the element can be varied or adjusted as required.

12. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims when dependent on claim 2, wherein the base is generally planar having first and second sides.

13. An apparatus according to claim 12, wherein the first and second sides are:

(i) of planar form for forming respective planar portions, or

(ii) comprise a flat element that comprises the respective planar

portion.

14. An apparatus according to claim 13, wherein the base comprises side arms, and wherein the or each side arm is configured so as to be telescopic such that the longitudinal position of the or each flat elements can be adjusted.

15. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims when dependent on claim 2, wherein the base provides a space for receiving the tyre, the space dimensioned commensurate with the width of a tyre.

16. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims when dependent on claim 2, wherein the base comprises a bridge portion connecting two support portions, the support portions being separated by the space.

17. An apparatus according to claim 16, wherein the bridge portion comprises a flat element which forms another planar portion for supporting weight applied to the ground when the tyre is engaged.

18. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims when dependent on claim 16, wherein the element is positioned at or near the bridge portion, a respective point of location of the two locations being provided on respective arm portions of the base.

19. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the

apparatus comprises at least one second(ary) element positioned substantially adjacent said (first) element, such that with the first element having secured a grip on the tyre, engagement of the tyre with the or each secondary element facilitates a cooperative interaction between the tyre and the first, second elements which serves to, at least in part, increase the traction of the tyre.

20. An apparatus according to claim 19, wherein the or each secondary element is shorter in length than the (first) element.

21 . An apparatus according to claim 19 or claim 20, wherein the or each secondary element is restrainable at two (or more) locations along its length that are substantially the same distance apart as the fixed distance.

22. An apparatus according to any one of claims 19 to 21 , wherein the or each

secondary element is substantially parallel to the (first) element.

23. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims when dependent on claim 2, wherein the planar portions are fixed apart in spacing by a bridge portion longitudinally disposed from the space for receiving the tyre.

24. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims when dependent on claim 19, wherein the or each elements (first and/or secondary) extend across the space for receiving the tyre.

25. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims when dependent on claim 19, wherein the or each secondary elements is/are closer to the bridge portion.

26. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims when dependent on claim 19 and claim 2, wherein the or each second element is/are of elongate form and connects with the base in a manner allowing the or each second element to span across the space.

27. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims when dependent on claim 19, wherein the or each second element is/are configured so as to be substantially less compliant than the (first) element.

28. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims when dependent on claim 19, wherein the or each second element is wider than the (first) element so as to make contact with a larger area of the tyre.

29. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims when dependent on claim 19, wherein the or each second element comprises a plurality of joined compliant members.

30. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims when dependent on claim 2, wherein the base comprises reinforcing structure comprising a number of reinforcing elements serving to provide additional reinforcing and rigidity to the base for handling the weight conferred by a vehicle’s tyre during a recovery operation.

31 . An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims when dependent on claim 2 and claim 19, wherein the first, second elements are each connected to the base in a manner that presents the respective gripping element at an acute angle to the tyre in the desired direction of movement.

32. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims when dependent on claim 2, wherein the base further comprises attachable/detachable further planar supports for engaging the ground and for supporting the body when the ground is susceptible to subsidence (for example when the ground is muddy).

33. An apparatus according to claim 32 when dependent on claim 14, wherein the further planar supports are connectable to the side arms.

34. An apparatus according to claim 32 or claim 33 when dependent on claim 14, wherein the further planar supports are spaced apart by a beam for connection to the side arms.

35. An apparatus for use in assisting in vehicle recovery comprising at least one embodiment of an apparatus arranged in accordance with the apparatus of any one of claims 1 to 34.

36. A method comprising operably configuring, modifying or otherwise, any embodiment of an apparatus, device, or system for use in assisting in vehicle recovery so as to accord with any embodiment of the apparatus of any one of claims 1 to 35.

37. A kit of parts comprising: at least two ground engaging planar portions; an element restrainable at two locations along its length, the element configured such that a tyre engaging the element between said two locations facilitates a physical response causing the element to establish, at least in part, a grip on the tyre, wherein the locations are of a fixed distance from each other on opposite sides of the tyre when installed for use, wherein the locations are able to be supported by the least two ground engaging planar portions for transferring weight to the ground without substantial subsidence or movement relative to the ground.

38. A method for recovering a vehicle, the method comprising: providing any embodiment of an apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 35, providing any embodiment of a base configured to have at least two ground engaging planar portions for transferring weight to the ground without substantial subsidence or movement relative to the ground in accordance with the base of the apparatus of any one of claims 1 to 35, engaging the element with the base such that the element is restrained at two (or more) locations of the element, wherein the locations are of a fixed distance from each other on opposite sides of the tyre when installed for use, positioning the apparatus such that the gripping element is in the path of a tyre of the vehicle and in contact with the tyre, and causing the vehicle’s tyre to engage the element between said two locations, which engagement facilitates a physical response causing the element to establish, at least in part, a grip on the tyre, the grip being leveraged to, at least in part, increase the traction of the tyre, wherein the locations are supported by at least two ground engaging planar portions and the at least two ground engaging planar portions transfer weight to the ground without substantial subsidence or movement relative to the ground.

39. A method for recovering a vehicle, the method comprising: providing any embodiment of an apparatus according to the apparatus of any one of claims 1 to 35, positioning the apparatus such that the element is in the path of a tyre of the vehicle, and causing the vehicle tyre to engage the element between said two locations, which engagement facilitates a physical response causing the element to establish, at least in part, a grip on the tyre, the grip being leveraged to, at least in part, increase the traction of the tyre.

40. A method according to claim 38 or claim 39, further comprising adjusting the first and/or second element(s) so that a portion thereof is substantially commensurate with a shape or profile of a portion of the relevant tyre.

41 . A vehicle recovery apparatus comprising: a base with spaced apart planar portions for positioning on either side of a bogged tyre and for engaging the ground and supporting a portion of the weight of a vehicle on the ground without substantial subsidence or movement relative to the ground; a bridge portion for maintaining the spacing between the base portions and for supporting the portion of the weight of the vehicle when the tyre of the vehicle contacts the bridge; and one or more elongate, flexible gripping strips connected to and extending between the spaced apart base portions, wherein the gripping strips are resistant to elongate stretching; wherein one of the gripping strips is a primary strip which is slack to the extent that when placed against shoulders of the tyre it deforms along its length so as to at least in part follow the profile of the tyre in use, where the slack in the length of the primary strip is slack by an amount which deforms around the shoulders of the tyre in a transverse direction to a line between the connections of the primary strip to the spaced apart portions of the body such that when the primary strip is gripped by the shoulders of the tyre and moved by rotation of the tyre in use so as to be positioned in vertical alignment along its length the primary strip provides a platform between the spaced apart portions on which the tyre is supported above its bogged position.

42. A vehicle recovery apparatus according to claim 41 , wherein the primary strip is slack so as to deform radially by about a third to a half a radius of the tyre when the primary strip is vertically aligned so that the platform is no more than about half of the tyre radius beneath the horizontal level of the spaced apart portions.

43. A vehicle recovery apparatus according to claim 41 or claim 42, wherein the or each flexible gripping strips comprise a secondary strip positioned to receive the tyre as it rotates, wherein secondary strip is less slack than the primary strip, such that any deformation of the second strip around the tyre in a transverse direction to a line between the connections of the secondary strip to the spaced apart portions of the body is relatively small, such that when the secondary strip is gripped by the shoulders of the tyre and rotated with rotation of the tyre in use so as to be positioned in vertical alignment along its length the secondary strip it provides a second platform between the spaced apart portions on which the tyre is supported that acts as a step between the primary strip and the bridge.

44. A vehicle recovery apparatus according to claim 43, wherein the secondary strip is slack so as to deform radially by about a fifth to a third (or about a quarter) of a radius of the tyre when the secondary strip is vertically aligned so that the platform is no more than about a third of the tyre radius beneath the horizontal level of the spaced apart portions.

45. A vehicle recovery apparatus according to any one of claims 43 to 44, wherein the secondary strip is liked to one or more further strips, each progressively shorter in length and which are spaced apart, such that the secondary strip and the subsequent strips collectively form a stepped ramp that grips the tyre upon rotation of the tyre and which lift the tyre and allow forward movement of the tyre, thereby providing traction of the tyre relative to the support surface upon which the base is supported.

46. A vehicle recovery apparatus according to any one of claims 41 to 45, wherein the first strip is taught and grips the shoulders of the tyre when the points of contact with the tyre are at between about 100 and about 140 degrees or at about 120 degrees from vertical with respect to the axis of rotation of the tyre, so as to allow for the apparatus the be adapted according to the tyre diameter and/or the depth of the tyre below surface level of the support material of the ground.

Description:
APPARATUS FOR ASSISTING IN VEHICLE RECOVERY TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] In at least one aspect, an apparatus for assisting in vehicle recovery is disclosed.

BACKGROUND

[0002] When a wheeled vehicle travels off road it can become bogged. When bogged, one or more of the wheels have insufficient traction against the medium upon which the vehicle is supported. Typically in sand or mud, rotation of the wheel tends to move the sand or mud directly underneath the tyre of the wheel in a digging manner with insufficient vehicular movement. The result is that the one or more wheels digs itself into the medium until the body of the vehicle or other parts of the vehicle (such as the differential) contact and become supported by the medium. Generally in this case the vehicle is in need of recovery as it will not be able to be driven out of this predicament. Devices for assisting in vehicle recovery exist. Various, however, exhibit advantages and drawbacks, the merits of which generally depend on the circumstances of the recovery event at hand. Many existing recovery devices are large, bulky, costly, and/or can be complex to install and/or operate. Solutions which endeavour to address any of these issues are always sought.

[0003] It is against this broad background that the embodiments described herein have been developed.

[0004] Each document, reference, patent application or patent cited in this text is expressly incorporated herein in their entirety by reference, which means that it should be read and considered by the reader as part of this text. That the document, reference, patent application, or patent cited in this text is not repeated herein is merely for reasons of conciseness.

[0005] In this specification, where a literary work, act or item of knowledge (or combinations thereof), is discussed, such reference is not an acknowledgment or admission that any of the information referred to formed part of the common general knowledge as at the priority date of the application. Such information is included only for the purposes of providing context for facilitating an understanding of the inventive concept/principles and the various forms or embodiments in which those inventive

SUMMARY

[0006] According to a first principal aspect, there is provided an apparatus for use in assisting in vehicle recovery, the apparatus comprising an element restrainable at two (or more) locations along its length, and configured such that a tyre engaging the element between said two locations facilitates a physical response causing the element to establish, at least in part, a grip on the tyre, wherein the locations are of a fixed distance from each other on opposite sides of the tyre when installed for use, wherein the locations are supported by at least two ground engaging planar portions for transferring weight to the ground without substantial subsidence or movement relative to the ground.

[0007] According to a second principal aspect, there is provided an apparatus for use in assisting in vehicle recovery, the apparatus comprising: a base comprising at least two spaced apart ground engaging planar portions, wherein a space between the spaced apart ground engaging portions is able to receive a tyre, an element operably engaged with the base at two (or more) locations along the element’s length, the element configured such that when the tyre engages the element between said two locations this facilitates a physical response causing the element to establish, at least in part, a grip on the tyre, engagement between the base and the element configured operable to leverage the grip on the tyre established by the element to, at least in part, increase the traction of the tyre and/or to lift the tyre relative to the base wherein the locations are of a fixed distance from each other on opposite sides of the tyre when installed for use, wherein the locations are supported by the least two ground engaging planar portions for transferring weight to the ground without substantial subsidence or movement relative to the ground. [0008] In the context of the description herein, utility of the apparatus of the above principal aspects (and those described below) can be seen in the apparatus functioning to establish a grip on a tyre of a vehicle having insufficient traction with a surface or supporting medium on which the vehicle is supported. Tyre traction is often lost due to the surface on which the vehicle is supported becoming less dense, eg. mud, sand. In this regard, frictional contact between the surface of the vehicle’s tyres and the travelling surface is reduced or lost. Accordingly, re-establishing or improving the frictional contact of the tyres with the supporting media serves to improve the vehicle’s traction allowing it to generate forward movement/momentum. Further when seriously bogged the tyre tends to have dug itself into the support medium. Lifting the tyre relative to the base enables it to more easily move up the slope or step the tyre has to move relative to.

[0009] The above described principal aspects, and those described below, may comprise any of the following features.

[0010] In one embodiment, the base has a surface area, the engagement between the base and the element configured operable to leverage the grip on the tyre established by the element to, at least in part, associate the surface area of the base with the tyre for the purposes of increasing the overall traction of the tyre relative to the support medium of the ground on which the base is placed.

[001 1] In one embodiment, the element (hereinafter, gripping element) is an elongate member, such as for example, a length of wire cable, preferably of uniform cross- section. The cross-section generally circular in nature. The cross-section could also vary across the length of the wire cable. An alternative form of gripping element is a chain of links. A further alternative form is an elongate strip of material such as plastics, or woven material, that is resistant to stretching along its length (tensile resistance). In a further embodiment, two or more cables (or the like) are linked together to form the gripping element. In an embodiment, the link is formed by a coupling device

substantially midway between the points of connection of the cables and the base. In one embodiment, the apparatus comprises at least one secondary element (hereinafter, second gripping element) of shorter length than and adjacent to the (first) gripping element. Preferably, the or each secondary gripping element is restrainable at two (or more) locations along its length that are substantially the same distance apart as the fixed distance. Preferably, the or each secondary gripping element is substantially parallel to the first gripping element. In one embodiment, the planar portions are fixed apart in spacing by a bridge portion longitudinally disposed from the space for receiving the tyre. Preferably, the first, second gripping elements extend across the space for receiving the tyre. Preferably, the or each secondary gripping element is closer to the bridge portion.

[0012] In this manner, with the first gripping element having secured a grip on the tyre, engagement of the tyre with the second gripping element facilitates a cooperative interaction between the tyre and the first, second gripping elements which serves to increase the traction of the tyre. In this manner, the presence of the second gripping element serves to provide a second point of traction.

[0013] In one embodiment, the gripping element is of a compliant form (eg. material and/or geometrical design). Typically, the gripping element is compliant by being flexible. In this manner, the form is one sufficiently compliant to allow the gripping element to be shaped for engagement or contact with the tyre. In this manner, the gripping element may be shaped so as to allow it to be substantially commensurate with the shape or profile of a portion of the relevant tyre. Increasing engagement of the tyre (i.e. by way of rotation of the tyre) with the gripping element between the two locations of restraint, together with the tensile resistance of the gripping element, increases the contact pressure of the gripping element on the tyre, generally at or near the shoulder portions of the tyre. In this manner, the gripping element operates to secure a firm grip or grasp on the tyre. Absent any means of positional restraint, with the tyre firmly gripped by the gripping element, the gripping element will begin to rotate with the tyre (being now firmly associated at the tyre’s periphery). Accordingly, positional resistance to rotation of the gripping element with the tyre is provided by way of the gripping element’s engagement with the base. In this manner, the base serves to, in effect, anchor the gripping element so as to provide or confer sufficient positional resistance (by limited the horizontal displacement of the gripping element being pushed

downwardly due to rotation of the tyre) in response to further rotation of the tyre. Thus, by way of such physical response, an initial point of traction for the tyre is created; thereby allowing the tyre to establish forward movement and preferably upward movement as the engaging element becomes vertically aligned with the locations of engagement between the engaging member and the base. [0014] In another embodiment, the material of the elongate member is of sufficient strength in tension so that the gripping element is not at risk of structural failure due to contact with the tyre. In this manner, the nature of the material and/or cross-sectional geometry of the gripping element allows the gripping element to respond appropriately when in contact with the tyre so as to not fail in tension under normal anticipated circumstances, ie. the recovery of a typical 4x4 vehicle from a soft supporting media such as mud or sand. The strength and/or stiffness characteristics of the gripping element may be due, in part, to its geometric design (for example, the

design/engineering of the cross-section) and/or material composition) or by the coupling of a plurality of linked cables or the like. In an embodiment the linked cables are held apart so as to spread the load of the tyre across the linked cables.

[0015] In a further embodiment, the base is provided of sufficient strength so that it is not at risk of structural failure due to any normal operational loading applied by the tyre.

[0016] In one embodiment, the gripping member engages with the base at the two locations by way of a suitable fastening system, such as for example, by way of one or more fastening elements, such as for example, screws, bolts and the like.

[0017] In one embodiment, the fastening system is sufficient for securing the gripping element to the base at the two locations.

[0018] In another embodiment, the gripping element is configured, positioned, or arranged so as to be capable of conforming substantially with a portion of the profile of the tyre during engagement therewith.

[0019] In a further embodiment, the gripping element terminates at or near one or both of the two locations.

[0020] In another embodiment, one end of the gripping element is arranged operable with an adjustment means. Such arrangements, the adjustment means is configured operable for allowing the length of the gripping element to be varied or adjusted as required or appropriate in view of the circumstances to hand. [0021] In an embodiment, the base has first and second sides (for example, upper and lower sides of the base respectively). In such arrangements, both the first and second sides are both generally planar in nature so as to form the planar portions, or comprise a flat element that comprises the respective planar portion. In an embodiment the base comprises side arms. Preferably the side arms are telescopic such that the longitudinal position of the flat elements can be adjusted. In an embodiment the bridge portion comprises a flat element which forms another planar portion for supporting weight applied to the ground when the tyre is engaged.

[0022] In one arrangement, the base provides the space for receiving the tyre in the form of a cut-out. The region of space for receiving the tyre is of a width dimension commensurate with the width of a tyre.

[0023] The base may be of varying or uniform thickness.

[0024] In one embodiment, the bridge portion is able to hold the planar support portions a fixed spacing apart, at least during operation, notwithstanding the gripping element urging them together as it grips the tyre and takes the weight of the vehicle as the tyre rotates.

[0025] In one embodiment, the gripping element is positioned at or near the bridge portion, a respective point of location of the two locations being provided on the respective arms of the base.

[0026] In one embodiment, the second gripping element is of elongate form and connects with the base in a manner allowing the second gripping element to span across the space. In one arrangement, the second gripping element is positioned between the bridge portion and the first gripping element.

[0027] In another embodiment, the or each second gripping element is configured so as to be substantially less compliant than the first gripping element. Preferably, the second gripping element is wider than the first gripping element so as to make contact with a larger area of the tyre. In an embodiment the second gripping element comprises a plurality of joined compliant members (such as cables joined together part way along their length by a spacer so as to retain the spacing between the cables). Preferably the spacer is shorter than the width of the tyre so as to allow the second gripping element to grip the shoulders and/or sides of the tyre.

[0028] In a further embodiment, the second gripping element serves to provide an additional point of traction leveraging, at least in part, the initial traction obtained by the first gripping element with the tyre. Preferably, the second gripping element further raises the tyre relative to the base and the tyre rotates while gripped.

[0029] In an embodiment there is at least one further gripping element, preferably closer again to the bridge portion and preferably less compliant again (such as shorter again). Thus the gripping elements effectively form a step of steps for the tyre as the tyre rotates and comes progressively into contact with and is gripped by each gripping element.

[0030] In one embodiment, the gripping element is arranged with the base such that a length of the gripping element spans across the space for receiving the tyre. In such arrangements, the two location points are on the base either side of the space.

[0031] In one embodiment, the base comprises reinforcing structure comprising, in one arrangement, a number of reinforcing elements. In one arrangement, one or more of the reinforcing elements may be provided in the form of tubular pipe sections. As the skilled reader would appreciate, the reinforcing elements serve to provide additional reinforcing and rigidity to the base so as to provide sufficient capacity for handling the weight conferred by a vehicle’s tyre during a recovery operation and/or for maintaining the separation of the spaced apart portions to which the gripping elements are connected. Accordingly, any such reinforcing structure may be arranged in any appropriate manner with the base for conferring sufficient/operable reinforcement as might be needed.

[0032] Preferably, the or each gripping element is connected to the base in a manner that presents the respective gripping element at an acute angle to the tyre in the desired direction of movement.

[0033] In an embodiment, the base further comprises attachable/detachable further planar supports for engaging the ground and for supporting the body when the ground is susceptible to subsidence (for example when the ground is muddy). Preferably, the further planar supports are connectable to the side arms. Preferably, the further planar supports are spaced apart by a beam for connection to the side arms.

[0034] According to a further principal aspect, there is provided an apparatus for use in assisting in vehicle recovery comprising at least one embodiment of an apparatus arranged in accordance with the apparatus of the first or second principal aspects, or as described herein.

[0035] According to another principal aspect, there is provided a method comprising operably configuring, modifying or otherwise, any embodiment of an apparatus, device, or system for use in assisting in vehicle recovery so as to accord with any embodiment of the apparatus of the first or second principal aspects, or as described herein.

[0036] According to a further principal aspect, there is provided a kit of parts comprising: at least two ground engaging planar portions;

an element restrainable at two locations along its length, the element configured such that a tyre engaging the element between said two locations facilitates a physical response causing the element to establish, at least in part, a grip on the tyre, wherein the locations are of a fixed distance from each other on opposite sides of the tyre when installed for use, wherein the locations are able to be supported by the at least two ground engaging planar portions for transferring weight to the ground without substantial subsidence or movement relative to the ground.

[0037] Optionally, the components of the kit are configured so as to be configurable for providing an embodiment of an apparatus arranged substantially in accordance with the apparatus of the first or second principal aspects, or as described herein.

[0038] Optionally, the kit of parts may comprise any combination of features as described herein.

[0039] According to another principal aspect, there is provided a method for recovering a vehicle, the method comprising: providing any embodiment of an apparatus configured in accordance with the apparatus of the first or second principal aspects or as described herein, providing any embodiment of a base configured to have at least two ground engaging planar portions for transferring weight to the ground without substantial subsidence or movement relative to the ground in accordance with the base as described herein, engaging the element with the base such that the element is restrained at two (or more) locations of the element, wherein the locations are of a fixed distance from each other on opposite sides of the tyre when installed for use, positioning the apparatus such that the gripping element is in the path of a tyre of the vehicle and in contact with the tyre, and causing the vehicle’s tyre to engage the element between said two locations, which engagement facilitates a physical response causing the element to establish, at least in part, a grip on the tyre, the grip being leveraged to, at least in part, increase the traction of the tyre, wherein the locations are supported by at least two ground engaging planar portions and the at least two ground engaging planar portions transfer weight to the ground without substantial subsidence or movement relative to the ground.

[0040] In one embodiment, the method may comprise adjusting the element so that a portion thereof is substantially commensurate with a shape or profile of a portion of the relevant tyre.

[0041] According to a further principal aspect, there is provided a method for recovering a vehicle, the method comprising: providing any embodiment of an apparatus configured in accordance with the apparatus of the first or second principal aspects or as described herein, positioning the apparatus such that the element is in the path of a tyre of the vehicle and in contact with the tyre, and - l o

calising the vehicle tyre to engage the element between said two locations, which engagement facilitates a physical response causing the element to establish, at least in part, a grip on the tyre, the grip being leveraged to, at least in part, increase the traction of the tyre.

[0042] In one embodiment, the method may comprise adjusting the first or second element(s) so that a portion thereof is substantially commensurate with a shape or profile of a portion of the relevant tyre.

[0043] According to a further principal aspect of the invention there is provided a vehicle recovery apparatus comprising a base with spaced apart planar portions for positioning on either side of a bogged tyre and for engaging the ground and supporting a portion of the weight of a vehicle on the ground without substantial subsidence or movement relative to the ground; a bridge portion for maintaining the spacing between the base portions and for supporting the portion of the weight of the vehicle when the tyre of the vehicle contacts the bridge; and one or more elongate, flexible gripping strips connected to and extending between the spaced apart base portions,

wherein the gripping strips are resistant to elongate stretching;

wherein one of the gripping strips is a primary strip which is slack to the extent that when placed against shoulders of the tyre it deforms along its length so as to at least in part follow the profile of the tyre in use, where the slack in the length of the primary strip is slack by an amount which deforms around the shoulders of the tyre in a transverse direction to a line between the connections of the primary strip to the spaced apart portions of the body such that when the primary strip is gripped by the shoulders of the tyre and moved by rotation of the tyre in use so as to be positioned in vertical alignment along its length the primary strip provides a platform between the spaced apart portions on which the tyre is supported above its bogged position.

[0044] In an embodiment, the primary strip is slack so as to deform radially by about a third to a half a radius of the tyre when the primary strip is vertically aligned so that the platform is no more than about half of the tyre radius beneath the horizontal level of the spaced apart portions.

[0045] In an embodiment, the one or more elongate, flexible gripping strips comprise a secondary strip positioned to receive the tyre as it rotates, wherein secondary strip is less slack than the primary strip, such that any deformation of the second strip around the tyre in a transverse direction to a line between the connections of the secondary strip to the spaced apart portions of the body is relatively small, such that when the secondary strip is gripped by the shoulders of the tyre and rotated with rotation of the tyre in use so as to be positioned in vertical alignment along its length the secondary strip it provides a second platform between the spaced apart portions on which the tyre is supported that acts as a step between the primary strip and the bridge.

[0046] In an embodiment, the secondary strip is slack so as to deform radially by about a fifth to a third (preferably about a quarter) of a radius of the tyre when the secondary strip is vertically aligned so that the platform is no more than about a third of the tyre radius beneath the horizontal level of the spaced apart portions.

[0047] In one embodiment, the secondary strip is liked to one or more further strips, each progressively shorter in length and which are spaced apart, such that the secondary strip and the subsequent strips collectively form a stepped ramp that grips the tyre upon rotation of the tyre and which lift the tyre and allow forward movement of the tyre, thereby providing traction of the tyre relative to the support surface upon which the base is supported.

[0048] In an embodiment, the first strip is taught and grips the shoulders of the tyre when the points of contact with the tyre are at between 100 and 140 degrees and preferably at about 120 degrees from vertical with respect to the axis of rotation of the tyre. In some embodiments the length of the first strip (gripping element in other principal aspects) is adjustable so that it becomes taught at about this desired angle. This allows for the apparatus the be adapted according to the tyre diameter and/or the depth of the tyre below surface level of the support material of the ground.

[0049] Various principal aspects described herein can be practiced alone or combination with one or more of the other principal aspects, as will be readily appreciated by those skilled in the relevant art. The various principal aspects can optionally be provided in combination with one or more of the optional features described in relation to the other principal aspects. Furthermore, optional features described in relation to one example (or embodiment) can optionally be combined alone or together with other features in different examples or embodiments. [0050] For the purposes of summarising the principal aspects, certain aspects, advantages and novel features have been described herein above. It is to be understood, however, that not necessarily all such advantages may be achieved in accordance with any particular embodiment or carried out in a manner that achieves or optimises one advantage or group of advantages as taught herein without necessarily achieving other advantages as may be taught or suggested herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0051] Further features of the inventive principles are more fully described in the following description of several non-limiting embodiments thereof. This description is included solely for the purposes of exemplifying the inventive principles. It should not be understood as a restriction on the broad summary, disclosure or description as set out above. The description will be made (by way of example only) with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

Figure 1 shows a plan view of one embodiment of the apparatus described herein;

Figure 2 shows a perspective view of the embodiment of the apparatus shown in

Figure 1 ;

Figure 3 shows a plan view of the embodiment of the apparatus shown in

Figures 1 and 2;

Figure 4 shows a cross-section view of the region identified as Z in Figure 5;

Figure 5 shows a schematic view of a sequence of states occurring during operation of the embodiment of the apparatus shown in Figure 1 and Figure 2;

Figure 6 shows a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the apparatus;

Figure 7 shows a plan view of the embodiment in Figure 6;

Figure 8 shows a perspective view of an embodiment of an attachment to the apparatus of Figure 6; and Figure 9 shows a plan view of the attachment of Figure 8 as attached to the apparatus of Figure 6 (shown in phantom).

[0052] In the figures, like elements are referred to by like numerals throughout the views provided. The skilled reader will appreciate that elements in the figures are illustrated for simplicity and clarity and have not necessarily been drawn to scale. For example, the dimensions and/or relative positioning of some of the elements in the figures may be exaggerated relative to other elements to facilitate an understanding of the various embodiments exemplifying the principles described herein. Also, common but well understood elements that are useful or necessary in a commercially feasible

embodiment are often not depicted in order to provide a less obstructed view of these various embodiments. It will also be understood that the terms and expressions used herein adopt the ordinary meaning as is accorded to such terms and expressions with respect to their corresponding respective areas of inquiry and study except where specific meanings have otherwise been set forth herein.

[0053] It should be noted that the figures are schematic only and the location and disposition of the components can vary according to the particular arrangements of the embodiment(s) as well as of the particular applications of such embodiment(s).

[0054] Specifically, reference to positional descriptions, such as‘lower’ and‘upper’, and associated forms such as‘uppermost’ and‘lowermost’, are to be taken in context of the embodiments shown in the figures, and are not to be taken as limiting the scope of the principles described herein to the literal interpretation of the term, but rather as would be understood by the skilled reader.

[0055] Embodiments described herein may include one or more range of values (eg. size, displacement and field strength etc). A range of values will be understood to include all values within the range, including the values defining the range, and values adjacent to the range which lead to the same or substantially the same outcome as the values immediately adjacent to that value which defines the boundary to the range.

[0056] Other definitions for selected terms used herein may be found within the detailed description and apply throughout. Unless otherwise defined, all other scientific and technical terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood to one of ordinary skill in the art to which the embodiment(s) relate. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0057] The words used in the specification are words of description rather than limitation, and it is to be understood that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of any aspect of the invention. Those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that a wide variety of modifications, alterations, and

combinations can be made with respect to the above described embodiments without departing from the spirit and scope of any aspect of the invention, and that such modifications, alterations, and combinations are to be viewed as falling within the ambit of the inventive concept.

[0058] Throughout the specification and the claims that follow, unless the context requires otherwise, the word “comprise” or variations such as “comprises” or “comprising”, will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or group of integers but not the exclusion of any other integer or group of integers.

[0059] Furthermore, throughout the specification and the claims that follow, unless the context requires otherwise, the word “include” or variations such as “includes” or “including”, will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or group of integers but not the exclusion of any other integer or group of integers.

[0060] Figures 1 to 5 show one embodiment of an apparatus 5 for use in assisting in vehicle recovery. The apparatus 5 comprises a gripping element 10 provided in the form of wire cable 40. The wire cable 40 is restrainable at two locations 15, 20 along its length, and configured such that a tyre 25 (see Figure 3) engaging the element between the two locations facilitates a physical response causing the wire cable 40 to establish, at least in part, a grip on the tyre. In alternatives the gripping element may be a strip of substantially non stretchable material, such as a chain of links, or a plastic (solid or woven) strip of material.

[0061] Utility of the apparatus 5 can be seen in it functioning to establish a grip on the tyre 25 of the vehicle (not shown) for securing traction during a recovery operation. As the skilled reader will understand, tyre traction is often lost due to the supporting surface or media on which the vehicle is travelling becoming less dense, eg. being mud, sand, etc. In this regard, frictional contact between the surface of the vehicle’s tyres and the supporting surface is reduced or lost. Accordingly, re-establishing or improving the frictional contact of the tyres serves to improve the vehicle’s traction allowing it to generate (controllable) forward movement.

[0062] The apparatus 5 also comprises a base 30 having a surface area 35. The wire cable 40 is operably engaged with the base 30 by way of restraint provided at the two locations 15, 20. The wire cable 40 is shaped or configured such that the tyre 25, when engaging the wire cable between said two locations 15, 20 is operable to establish a grip on the tyre (generally at the shoulders 42a, 42b of the tyre - see Figure 3, and then, preferably, on the tread of the tyre). The engagement between the base 30 and the wire cable 40 is configured operable so as to leverage the grip on the tyre 25 established by the wire cable to, at least in part, associate the surface area 35 of the base 30 with the tyre for the purposes of increasing traction of the tyre.

[0063] The wire cable 40 engages with the base 30 at the two locations 15, 20 by way of a suitable fastening system, such as for example, by way of one or more fastening elements (eg. screws, bolts and the like). The fastening system is sufficient for securing the wire cable 40 to the base 30 at the two locations 15, 20 for completing the recovery operation. In embodiment shown, the wire cable 40 is of uniform circular cross-section of about 4-5 mm in diameter (other diameters could be possible). The wire cable 40 terminates at or near location 15 and is configured operable with an adjustment means provided in the form of a cable adjuster 32. In embodiment shown, one end of the wire cable 40 terminates at or near location 15 and the alternate end of the wire cable is operably associated with the cable adjuster 32 such that the exposed portion of the cable wire can be varied in length and/or shape depending on the size/profile of the tyre of the vehicle to be recovered and/or of the depth of the tyre below the surface level of the ground.

[0064] The wire cable 40 is capable of being shaped so as to conform substantially with a portion of the profile of the tyre 25 prior to or during engagement therewith. In this manner, the wire cable 40 is able to respond as is necessary so as to be capable of gripping the tyre at about its shoulders 42a, 42b (see Figure 5). Thus, pressure applied to the tyre’s shoulders 42a, 42b by the wire cable 40 serves to apply a contact pressure thereby creating a frictional force therebetween and allowing the wire cable to grip (or pinch) the tyre (at its shoulders 42a, 42b). [0065] In use, increasing engagement of the tyre (i.e. by way of rotation of the tyre) with the wire cable 40 between the two locations 15, 20 of restraint, together with the tensile resistance of the wire cable, increases the contact pressure of the wire cable on the tyre, generally at or near the shoulder portions of the tyre. In this manner, the wire cable 40 operates to secure a firm grip or grasp on the tyre at roughly the 4 o’clock position (120 degrees from vertical) on the tyre. Absent any positional restraint, with the tyre firmly gripped by the wire cable 40, the wire cable will begin to rotate with the tyre (being now firmly associated at the tyre’s periphery). Accordingly, positional resistance to rotation of the wire cable 40 with the tyre 25 is provided by way of the wire cable’s engagement with the base 30. In this manner, the base 30 serves to, in effect, anchor the wire cable 40 so as to provide or confer sufficient positional resistance in response to increasing rotation of the tyre 25. Thus, by way of such physical response, an initial point of traction for the tyre 25 is created; thereby allowing the tyre to establish lift of the tyre and forward movement (as opposed to traction this rotation). A sequence showing various stages of the tyre during the recovery process can be seen in Figure 5.

[0066] The material of the wire cable 40 is of sufficient strength in tension so that the wire cable is not at risk of structural failure due to contact with the tyre. In this manner, the nature of the material and/or cross-section of the wire cable 40 allows the wire cable to respond appropriately when in contact with the tyre so as to not fail in tension under normal anticipated circumstances, ie. the recovery of a typical 4x4 vehicle from a soft supporting media such as mud or sand. The strength and/or stiffness characteristics of the wire cable 40 may be due, in part, to its geometric design (for example, the design/engineering of the cross-section) and/or material composition).

[0067] The base 30 is generally planar having first 45 and second sides 50 (which, represents the upper and lower planar sides of the base respectively). The base 30 provides a region of space 60 (such as for example, a cut-out region) which is generally dimensioned commensurate with the width of a tyre. In the embodiment shown, the base 30 has a thickness of about 10 mm (although, other thicknesses are possible) and is of sufficient material for providing strength and rigidity (eg. of steel or aluminium or suitable plastic).

[0068] As can be seen in the Figures, the wire cable 40 is arranged with the base such that a length of the wire cable spans across the region of space 60. In such arrangements, the two locations 15, 20 are on the base 30 either side of the region of space 60 and the two locations 15, 20 are of fixed spacing apart. The base 30

comprises a bridge portion 65 connecting and spacing apart two support portions 70,

75, the support portions being at least partially separated by the region of space 60. The wire cable 40 is positioned at or near the bridge portion 65, whereby respective points of location of the two locations 15, 25 are provided on respective support portions 70, 75 of the base 30. The support portions 70, 75 may be of substantially similar geometry, or each of differing geometries. In this regard, the footprint of the base 30 could be substantially symmetric or asymmetric in form.

[0069] The base 30 further comprises a number of reinforcing elements provided in the form of 30 mm diameter tubular pipe sections (eg. of steel or aluminium). As shown in Figure 1 , support portion 70 of the base 30 comprises reinforcing elements 72a, 72b, 72c assembled on its upper side (side 45). Likewise, support portion 75 of the base 30 comprises reinforcing elements 78a, 78b, and 78c. As shown in Figure 1 , reinforcing elements 72a, 72c, 78a, 78c are connected with like configured reinforcing element 79. Support portions 70 and 75 are generally planar for transferring weight to the ground without substantial subsidence or movement relative to the ground. As the skilled reader would appreciate, the reinforcing elements serve to provide additional reinforcing and rigidity to the base 30 so as to provide sufficient capacity for handling the weight conferred by the vehicle’s tyre (25) during the recovery operation. The pipe sections may be provided with holes therethrough so that the cable can extend therethrough and can be secured to the base via the tube by a loop or tie larger than the diameter of the hole. The holes may be align at an acute angle to the tube so as to provide a biasing angle to the cable relative the side of the tyre. Adjustability in length of the cable may be provided by providing a plurality of hooks arranged to that the loop is placed over one of the hooks and the hook selected determines the amount of slack available in the cable.

[0070] The apparatus 5 comprises a further element (hereinafter, second wire cable 80) which serves to provide an additional point of traction leveraging, at least in part, the initial traction obtained by way of the wire cable 40 gripping the shoulders 42a, 42b of the tyre 25. The second wire cable 80 is of elongate form (similar in form and

construction to the wire cable 40) and connects with the base 30 in a manner allowing the second wire cable 80 to span across the region space 60. In the arrangement shown in the Figures, the second wire cable 80 is positioned between the bridge portion 65 and the wire cable 40. The second wire cable 80 is configured so as to be substantially less compliant than the first wire cable 40. Generally, the second wire cable 80 is not configured for adjustability of its length.

[0071] In one form (not shown) there are a plurality of further wire cables, each progressively short closer to the bridge portion 65. In a preferred form the second and/or the further cables are linked by a plate that is about midway along their length and which space apart the cables. The cables and the plate may provide a surface onto which the tyre can rotate and which support the weight of the tyre.

[0072] With particular reference to Figure 5, a sequence is shown illustrating the operation (and advantage(s)) of the utility of the apparatus 5 (as described above). A number of positions of the vehicle tyre 25 are shown at various intermediate stages during the recovery process. Reference A denotes the vehicle’s tyre (solid line) in an unrecovered position (bogged), and reference G denotes the vehicle’s tyre in a recovered position (unbogged). References B-F denote various stages of the movement of the tyre and its interaction with the apparatus 5 during the recovery process.

[0073] At reference position A, the tyre is in an unrecovered condition requiring assistance for recovery purposes. Apparatus 5 is placed relative to the tyre as shown such that a portion of the tyre is capable of engaging the wire cable 40 when attempted to be driven (i.e, rotated) forward. Rotation of the tyre causes contact with the exposed length of the wire cable 40, which contact causes the wire cable to grip or pinch the shoulders (42a, 42b) of the tyre (reference point B). With the tyre now grasped or pinched by the wire cable 40, and the base 30 providing positional resistance to the load applied by the tyre, sufficient traction is established allowing further rotation of the tyre to use the wire cable as an initial lift or traction point or platform. At this point, the tyre has sufficient traction or leverage whereby further rotation brings the tyre into engagement with the second wire cable 80 (reference C). The second wire cable 80 therefore offers a second lift or traction point or platform stepped upward for continued recovery of the tyre. With the tyre engaged with both wire cable 40 and second wire cable 80, further traction and is garnered with further rotation of the tyre, resulting in subsequent conditions denoted by reference positions D, E, and F. During initial testing, recovery of the tyre as generally achieved within or about half a tyre rotation. [0074] In another aspect, the apparatus 5 lends itself to various methods for use of the apparatus in the process of recovering a vehicle. Such methods may broadly involve assembly of the component parts from a kit (if provided in the form of a kit) so as to provide an embodiment of the apparatus 5 ready for use. In this manner, appropriate assembly steps will be carried out. Embodiments of the apparatus 5 may be available in an assembled state.

[0075] For operational use, appropriate methods may involve positioning the apparatus (5), when so formed or provided, such that the wire cable (40) is in the path of a tyre of a vehicle and in contact with the tyre, and then causing the vehicle tyre to engage the wire cable (40) (between locations 15, 20) substantially in the manner shown in Figure 5.

[0076] Different arrangements/configurations are shown in Figures 6 to 9. While in some of Figures 6 to 9 dimensions may be shown, it is to be appreciated that these are by example only. The skilled reader will readily appreciate that variations to the dimensions shown could be possible while still in keeping with the principles described herein.

[0077] Figure 6 shows an alternative embodiment of the apparatus 5’, in which similar elements to the previous embodiment have the same numbers. In this version of the apparatus 5’, the arms of the body 30 are in the form of tubes 72’ and 78’ which are telescopically extendable. This allows the support portions 70 and 75 to be positioned longitudinally relative to the rest of the body in positions that are either accessible or provide better support, such as harder ground. Further the bridge portion 65 comprises a further support portion 90 which is substantially transverse to the length of the body 30.

[0078] There is also a further engaging element in the form of a set of cables 92 shorter in length than the cable 40, but longer in length than the second cable 80. The cables of the set of cables 92 are held spaced apart by a spacer 94. The cables of the set may be of the same length but are preferably shorter in length towards to bridge member 65, such that the spacer 94 also forms a ramp. In this embodiment there are four cables in the set of cables 92, but a different number may be used instead.

[0079] The spacing can be determined according to the diameter of the typical range of tire sizes that the apparatus 5’ may be used on. [0080] A plan view of the embodiment shown in Figure 6, is shown in Figure 7.

[0081] Figure 8 shows an attachment 100 for increasing the ground contacting surface area in case of ground that is prone to permit sinking, such as mud. The attachment 100 has two spaced apart support pads 106 that engage the ground and are connected by a transverse beam 102. The beam 102 has two attachment points 104, such as receiving cups that can receive the telescopic side tubes 72’ and 78’.

[0082] When the tyre is engaged by the device 5’ downward pressure applied to the ground can be distributed via the tubes 72’, 78’, transverse beam 102 and pads 106 to the ground in addition to the pressure distributed to the ground by the support portions

70, 75, 90.

[0083] A plan view of the embodiment shown in Figure 8 is shown in Figure 9.

[0084] Any appropriate materials may be used for the described components of the apparatus 5, 5’ (eg. of steel or aluminium). Various metallic materials, composite materials, and plastics could be used (or modified for use) in realising various embodiments of the apparatus 5, 5’ or availing of the principles described herein. The skilled reader will appreciate what materials may be suitable in view of the description herein.

[0085] Future patent applications maybe filed in Australia or overseas on the basis of, or claiming priority from, the present application. It is to be understood that the following claims are provided by way of example only and are not intended to limit the scope of what may be claimed in any such future application. Features may be added to or omitted from the provisional claims at a later date so as to further define or re-define the invention or inventions.