The Pentagon is looking for a few good flying machines.
The U.S. Department of Defense, in the form of its DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) division, is calling on the research community to create a flying vehicle that can travel both by land and air, lift off without a runway, carry up to four personnel, and handle itself in the battlefield.
With land vehicles vulnerable to ambushes, attacks, and explosives, the objective of the program known as Transformer is to provide soldiers with a vehicle that can travel freely in the air to avoid problems on the ground. Such a vehicle would be used in combat for raids, reconnaissance, insurgency/counterinsurgency, and other types of missions. It would also be deployed to evacuate the wounded and deliver supplies, according to DARPA's solicitation.
Additionally, DARPA is looking for something with VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing), meaning it can lift off like a helicopter requiring no runaway, and reach altitudes as high as 10,000 feet. But to traverse rough road conditions when on the ground, the agency wants the vehicle to handle like an SUV with at least four wheels for stability and heavy-duty suspension. And like the rest of us, it wants a car that's fuel-efficient--able to run for 250 miles on a single tank of gas.… Read more