Feeds

DARPA, US Marines team on proper flying car project

Blade Runner style sky-buggy Humvee/Jeep/Prius combo

Intelligent flash storage arrays

It'll be no good telling the girls 'I'm a pilot' any more.

Blade Runner 'Spinner' flying car blueprints, co-opted for the US military

Something a bit more like this is what we want

The TX would be different, though. DARPA specifies that it should be capable of completely unmanned flight operations, much like the robotic supply choppers also being examined by the Marines right now. While the TX would generally fly with personnel aboard, they wouldn't be highly-trained officer-class pilots: any lance-corporal with the right tick in his personnel file would be able to pilot one, just as he might drive a Humvee.

In most cases, making a flight would call for nothing more demanding than selecting a destination from a preprogrammed menu or keying in some coordinates, though DARPA says that a "range of operation from fully autonomous to being able to have the operator make flight steering commands in real time" is "desirable".

But how is all this to be achieved?

DARPA have some suggestions:

Technologies of interest may include: hybrid electric drive, advanced batteries, adaptive wing structures, ducted fan propulsion systems, advanced lightweight heavy fuel engines, lightweight materials, advanced sensors, and flight controls for stable transition from vertical to horizontal flight.

It's also specified that "contained propulsion (no exposed rotors) is highly recommended" and that "disk loading should be minimized to maximize VTOL operational capability".

This would seem to point to large, low-disc-loaded ducted fans as the VTOL propulsion, perhaps swivelling tiltrotor-style to provide thrust for forward flight or using venetian-blind slats as in the Israeli "AirMule" vehicle. Something along the same general lines as the human hover-gunships from Avatar, maybe, though hopefully rather more effective.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.