DARPA, the U.S. military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (a.k.a. the folks with the most wonderful toys), is dropping a cool $369,677 on a company that specializes in rocket-shaped robots that can amazingly take off and land in a standing position.
Called the V-Bat, the rocket-shaped robot is able to take off vertically like a Harrier jet and can autonomously proceed to its destination, as long as it takes less than five hours to fly there. It can cover a pretty large area considering it can work itself up to speeds of 140 miles per hour, though it can only carry around five pounds of gear.
That limits it to transporting cameras, surveillance equipment and the like, though maybe it could also be modified to, say, deliver ammunition to a squad that's cut off.
The idea of using unmanned aerial vehicles (or UAVs) to remotely supply military squadrons, bases and even other stuff such as hospitals isn't new, but the V-Bat's ability to take off and land vertically is rare and makes it an ideal candidate.
Via The Register