Helicopter drones are nothing new. Autonomous, self-driving cars are already on the road, in fact we talked a lot about these cars last month. But what if you could put the two of them together? It might be a challenge, but just imagine! It sounds like something out of a futuristic video game. Scientists at Carnegie Mellon’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) have gotten together with Sikorsky, a leading supplier of military helicopters.
In this 18-month study, the idea is to get eyes on the ground in areas too dangerous for humans by dropping autonomous vehicles from drone helicopters. (I never thought I would ever type that sentence!) Specifically, the study will use an auto-piloted Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopter, which can carry an unmanned ground vehicle in a sling. The helicopter will drop the ground vehicle at a designated location and return to its base of operations. The driverless vehicle will then perform scans of its environment, biological, nuclear and chemical. Military applications are a given, but law enforcement agencies are also watching closely. It’s a great opportunity to keep people out of harms way while performing critical operations. Fire and Rescue applications also come to mind. In the future, driverless cars may be encountered on the road…and in the sky!
In some states Google is already operating self-driving cars, which are mainly updating Google maps street images. Have you ever wondered if this technology would come to the public at large? Just imagine, you get in your car on your way to work. You punch in your destination and then relax as you check e-mail and enjoy your morning coffee as your car automatically and safely delivers you to your destination. Near-future fact, or total fiction? It may be closer than you think!
There was a time when the V8 Cadillac and Lincoln were considered an everyday car of the average driver. That time is long gone, and manufacturers are turning to designers and engineers to come up with vehicles with lower body weight and more fuel efficient engines. A car’s mileage rating is one of the top considerations for most people buying a new vehicle. Today some of the bestselling vehicles are the fuel-efficient Toyotas, Hondas, and Nissans that allow owners to enjoy the privacy and comfort of their cars and save money on gas.