The well-known robotics department at Carnegie Mellon university - famed among other things for accomplishments in the field of self-driving cars and for giving the world the 600-tonne automated Godzilla truck - has now been selected to provide an autopilot system for a military flying-jeep project. The Lockheed ducted-fan …
if they're going to call it a "transformer", shouldn't the vehicle have arms and legs that fold away neatly when it's in vehicle-configuration?
My state's budget is in the toilet, the roads I drive on are like cattle tracks, there's whingeing about the Federal budget being in deficit.
We can't have proper health care but we can play fantasy games with hover-jeeps.
(You've got the same problem in the UK, I see -- government's cutting budgets but is terminally addicted to big ticket, and somewhat useless, defense items.)
Human nature sucks - politicians seem addicted to big projects that boost their egos and build great empires around their departments without actually delivering anything of any value to us poor saps who are paying for it all. Ho hum.
It's because ...
... people who would be any use as politicians are doing something else, and pretty much anyone who actually wants to be a politician should be prevented from being one.
When I was a kid the Eagle comic had a strip about an Australian family who lived in a boat-shaped vehicle called a Bushwacker. It had wheels on outriggers from the hull, a jet engine at the back, and mast which could be used for propulsion under sail. The mast split into 3 rotor blades that let it fly like a helicopter.
I've been waiting for years for someone to build one. The cartoon-like drawing of the flying jeep reminds me just a little bit of it, and I still want my Bushwacker. Please.
Is this not a little late to start on the guidance system?
How long has this project been running?
Paid by the word?
I wonder, is there any chance of an article mentioning DARPA that *doesn't* get padded out by a few tired lines attempting to explain how crazy they are?
What would we ever do without Lewis Page and his inventive way with words?
"it is not so much crazy like a fox, as crazy like a fox whose body has been replaced by a powerful and heavily be-weaponed robotic combat walker unit which the fox's disembodied brain controls from within a bubbling nutrients tank in an armoured housing."
I just fervently hope that DARPA themselves never get to read that.
Insane autonomous fox-brained killbots sounds rather too right-up-their-street to me and thus waaay too tempting to dangle as an idea before an organisation that thinks about the eventual subjugation of the human race by evil, robotic overlords in terms of timescales and budgets.
I want one for work!
ducted-fan job from Lockheed?
I initially read that as duct-tape fan job from Lockheed... at least that version would actually work (and, if it doesn't, add more tape)!
Seems to me that this would be a very expensive way of getting your soldiers shot down. How easy a target they would be! Maybe they only fly at night or not near the enemy? Has this idea been thought through?
I can't say how much it's been thought through
but extra mobility is generally a good thing. "Fire and move" and all that. Plus, not getting stuck when the bridges are blown up.
Flying at night would be worse. heat seekers would find them more easily. Unless Murdoch was flying it. Just turn off the engine and you're invisible on infra-red in but half a second! (That was the only bit of Oceans A-Team that really, really annoyed me)
What bureaucrat let this slip by?
The US governments, state, local and federal are broke and they still throw money away.
One well placed bullet would likely down this wet dream.
State and local are irrelevant
The military's budget probably outstrips the amount of federal subsidies for non-federally mandated programs, so really bringing them in is a nonsequitor. The program itself is minuscule compared to the cost of Medicare and Social Security, which are where the feds would have to look to do much in terms of trimming the budget.
VTOL + Armor = oxymoron
Look at the Harrier, it's basically a massive jet engine with wings, tail and a cockpit strapped to it.
Even with ~25,000lbs of thrust it can't take off vertically with a full payload!
Added to that this vehicle needs to support a standard road operational capability, with transmission, suspension etc off road tyres
You would be able to build something that could fly for 10-15mins before it ran out of fuel.
A car that primarily flies may be feasible and realistic in terms of a usable machine