Feeds

US Marine hover-jeep to get robotic hands-off controls

'Good morning. All selections other than LZ CERTAIN DEATH are disabled'

New hybrid storage solutions

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 concept for the Transformer TX flying car. Credit: Lockheed

The Marines raced each other to the only parking space

Carnegie Mellon has just announced the $988,000 17-month deal under which it will develop an "autonomous flight system" for the Transformer TX project. Transformer TX is intended to produce a Humvee-like vehicle that can drive on the ground on- or off-road, but also lift off vertically to fly about like a light helicopter or plane - and that's not all.

"The TX is all about flexibility of movement and key to that concept is the idea that the vehicle could be operated by a soldier without pilot training," said Sanjiv Singh, Carnegie Mellon robotics prof.

"In practical terms, that means the vehicle will need to be able to fly itself, or to fly with only minimal input from the operator. And this means that the vehicle has to be continuously aware of its environment and be able to automatically react in response to what it perceives."

That's where Singh and his colleagues come in. The actual airframe design will be either an autogyro jumpcopter or a ducted-fan job from Lockheed (pictured); the powerplant will be a wonder-diesel from Rocketdyne. But the more-or-less hands-off autopilot will come from Carnegie Mellon (working with Honeywell Labs as a subcontractor).

The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon produced the robot SUV named "Boss", which won the DARPA Urban Challenge race in 2007. Singh himself has previously worked on a pilotless helicopter which could fly at low level, avoid obstacles, and choose its own landing site in unmapped terrain.

The Transformer TX project, nominally intended to furnish hoverjeeps to US Marine units too small to have their own aircraft, also comes from DARPA. DARPA is the Pentagon's mad-scientist bureau: it is not so much crazy like a fox, as crazy like a fox whose body has been replaced by a powerful and heavily be-weaponed robotic combat walker unit which the fox's disembodied brain controls from within a bubbling nutrients tank in an armoured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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds
Space rock appears out of nowhere, buzzes planet on Sunday
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Square Kilometre Array reveals its 1.6TB-a-day storage and network rigs
Boolardy Engineering Test Array - aka BETA - is about to come out of Beta
LOHAN invites ENTIRE REG READERSHIP to New Mexico shindig
Well, those of you who back our Kickstarter tin-rattling...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.