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Carnegie Mellon Gets $1 Million To Build Autonomous Flying Capability For Darpa's Dream Car


DARPA’s Transformer – sometimes referred to as the flying Humvee – seems to be moving right along, even if only on paper at this point. The DoD’s out-there tech incubator has awarded Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute $988,000 to develop an autonomous flight system for the vehicle, which would go a long way toward helping the proposed military vehicle get off the ground in both the literal and figurative senses.

The Transformer, you’ll recall, is a proposed four-wheeled vehicle capable of off-road terrestrial travel as well as flight. DARPA is asking contractors for a vehicle with vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities, a 250-nautical-mile range on a single tank of fuel, a seating capacity of four, and a payload capacity of at least 1,000 pounds. The idea is to give soldiers terrain independent mobility, allowing them to leap impassable terrain or to avoid terrestrial threats like ambushes or improvised explosive devices.

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