While the internet spent the last week virtually paralyzed by the Yanny/Laurel debate, the wheels of industry kept turning. Elon Musk promised rides aboard the upcoming Boring Company system would only cost a buck, MIT built a robotic albatross for oceanic observations and Bosch unveiled its anti-skid maneuvering thrusters for high end motorbikes. Numbers, because how else would you know when it's time to get back out on the road again? Behold, whatever the heck this thing is. Once fully developed, it should help drastically reduce the cost of monitoring the health of our oceans (at least near the surface) while severely increasing the amount of open ocean we can monitor at any given time.
The U.S. Marine Corps just awarded $10 million for a ruggedized "throwable" robot useful in situational assessment in tactical situations. The platform is made by Endeavor Robotics, which was previously known as iRobot's Defense & Security Business Unit. Endeavor recently landed two additional Marine Corps contracts totaling $24 million, a sign of the growing role defense interests are playing in the robotics industry. Another Endeavor robot was named one of two finalists in an Army down-select competition that will anoint a common man-packable (sub-25 pound) ground robot for Army deployment. That contract is worth $429 million.
Two years after World War II, billionaire Howard Hughes personally piloted his "Spruce Goose" troop transport aircraft on the first and only flight of the largest seaplane ever built. It lasted barely a minute. Now, more than 70 years later, a U.S. startup is testing a new seaplane concept--one that could evolve into huge cargo drones that fly 109 metric tons of freight across the Pacific, touch down autonomously over water, and unload at ports around the world. The startup Natilus was founded in 2014 with a dream of building large cargo drones to deliver international freight for about half the price of piloted aircraft, and much faster than ships. In December, Natilus planned to test the water-taxiing capabilities of a small prototype drone with a 9-meter wingspan in San Francisco Bay.
Two years after World War II, billionaire Howard Hughes personally piloted his "Spruce Goose" troop transport aircraft on the first and only flight of the largest seaplane ever built. It lasted barely a minute. Now, more than 70 years later, a U.S. startup is testing a new seaplane concept--one that could evolve into huge cargo drones that fly 109 metric tons of freight across the Pacific, touch down autonomously over water, and unload at ports around the world.
In three minutes, the Scout drone is assembled. One minute more, and it's airborne, tossed by a Marine. The flight is short, maybe 20 minutes at the most, but the information gained is valuable, a real-time video of just who or what, exactly, is behind that building a mile down the road. With the area surveilled, the aptly-named Scout drone flies back, and suffers a rough landing, snapping a wing. The squad can print another back at company HQ after the mission, and have it ready to go in a couple hours.
BAE Systems has released a set of images showing its new driverless mini-tanks that could revolutionise warfare. The innovative concept, codenamed Ironclad, could soon work alongside other unmanned aerial and ground vehicles to support troops on the battlefield. The Ironclad tanks can be modified with different attachments, meaning they can carry out reconnaissance, evacuate troops and act as bomb disposal units. BAE systems has released a set of images showing its new driverless mini-tanks that could revolutionise warfare. BAE Systems aims to make them completely autonomous in future, meaning they operate without a human controller.
"The people closest to the problem are also the people closest to the solution," Capt. Chris Wood, co-lead for Additive Manufacturing with the US Marine Corps, told Engadget. In 2016, the USMC put that adage to the test as it launched the Logistics Innovation Challenge, a program "to solicit ideas from Marines, sailors and civilians from across the Marine Corps" that would address challenges that they face in their daily duties. And this is only the start to the US Military's additive-manufacturing aspirations. Pretty soon, everything from ammunition to autonomous vehicles could come from the Corps' cadre of 3D printers.
About 200 U.S. Marines qualified for a rare Navy Arctic Service Ribbon this week after training in the first deployment to Norway since World War II. In Norway on Tuesday, Lt. Gen. John Wissler, commander of Marine Corps Forces Command, congratulated the Marines from Camp Lejeune, N.C., on earning the rare decoration, after their somewhat "Cold War-era" deployment. Foreign troops had been banned from stationing in Russia's Arctic neighbor since the 1940s. "There's a lot of ribbons you don't have to do s-- to get; this isn't one of them," Wissler said. "As a Marine Corps, we've been very used to operating in sort of jungle and desert environments, but we're not as good at operating in Arctic environments as we need to be." Marines who were part of the training said they learned how to dry sweat-dampened clothes using their own body heat, slaughter reindeer and drink their blood and practice melting and boiling snow to prepare freeze-dried food.
Included in the new technology are machine-gun toting robots that charge up the beaches as advance assault, as well as speedboats that instantly transformed into small stealthy submarines diving beneath the surface to avoid detection. For the past two weeks, the Navy and Marine Corps have been quietly testing about 50 new fascinating technologies out at Camp Pendleton, at the Ship-to-Shore Maneuver Exploration and Experimentation Advanced Naval Technology Exercise 2017, in California. The exercise is investigating how the military can leverage the latest technological advances for ship-to-the-shore, or the space between the Naval ship and the beach where they could potentially land. Sailors and Marines have been experimenting with the technology and evaluating the wide range of sea, air and land innovations in a variety of realistic scenarios. The tech includes amphibious vehicles, but also drones like quadcopters and potentially weapon-wielding ground robots.
The U.S. Marine Corps is reportedly testing an innovative new way of getting care packages to its troops in the field: disposable drones. The Tactical Air Delivery gliders, as they're calling them, would be able to deliver up to 700 pounds of food and other supplies, according to IEEE Spectrum. They can then be left to rot where they landed. The technology could also be used for a variety of applications outside the military, for example in fire fighting or search and rescue. Dropped from a height dozens of miles away, the drones would use basic GPS to float to within an easily walkable distance of wherever they are needed.