Carnegie Mellon University (the robotics institute) has just received a $988,000 seventeen month contract from DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) to develop a flight system for the Transformer (yes, I’m talking about a flying car). This is where fantasy meets reality. We are not just talking about a typical flying car; this car is being developed for the battlefield, “state of the art technology”. DARPA is no stranger to working with private-sector businesses. They often work with technology innovators to develop ideas that could be used for defense and daily use. These innovations are the backbone of today’s technological advances cascading globally.
There are six (6) contractors working on this project, this includes Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Lockheed Martin, AAI Corp. and 3 other undisclosed companies. Sanjiv Singh, a CMU research professor of robotics, said: “In practical terms … 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.” The vehicle DARPA is considering would be able to carry four troops and up to 1,000 pounds of equipment for 250 miles, either on land or through the air. This machine will be designed to take off, fly and land like a helicopter. In a written release Carnegie Mellon said, “Its enhanced mobility would increase survivability by making movements less predictable and would make the vehicle suitable for a wide variety of missions, such as scouting, resupply and medical evacuation.” This project will eventually change how we travel in the future. FYI; DARPA means business, they created the foundation for the Internet(then called Arpanet) that we all seem so crazed about today.