It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a 5,900-pound (2,676-kilogram) armored vehicle with rock-crushing off-road capabilities, a 5,100-pound (2,313-kilogram) payload capacity and … wings? A flying Humvee? Seriously?
While a flying Humvee may seem like something doodled on the back of a sixth grade boy's notebook, it's actually something the U.S military is pushing for. The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is behind the development of some cutting-edge technology, especially where cars are concerned. The DARPA Urban Challenge, for example, is a program to encourage the development of driverless cars. DARPA specializes in projects that are high risk and high reward. That means that DARPA focuses on encouraging the creation of technology that could radically alter how the military engages in its mission. Driverless cars may sound great for commuters, but they could also potentially save soldiers' lives by allowing them to conduct patrols from the safety of a base.
Of course, DARPA focuses on high-reward technology, but the other side of the coin is that DARPA projects are high risk -- that is, the technology may be so far out there that it never gets built, or can only be built at great cost. Flying Humvees may seem like they fall into both of those categories, but DARPA has a tendency to get the tech it wants. For instance, the Urban Challenge started in 2004 and now the world is tantalizingly close to driverless cars.
Want to know how a flying Humvee will work? Keep reading.