George Jetson's carThe obvious glib commentary here would invoke Optimus Prime, or something. Instead, we're going to digress momentarily and say that the best kind of transformer involves an LP record and an SL1200. Either way, DARPA has its own transforming going on. The Pentagon's latest initiative has been dubbed Transformer, and it aims to make the prognostications of 1955 come true - flying cars and all. (Bonus points for DARPA if they can get them to fold up neatly into briefcases.)

Pushing military technology is the purpose; the primary goal is a vehicle capable of both driving on the road and flying. Such abilities would allow the vehicle to cross difficult terrain more efficiently, especially considering the vertical take off and landing capability the design brief calls for. Other bullet points include low cost and maximal military utility.

Flying cars have been developed before, all with some level of compromise. Even now, there's the Moller SkyCar, and the Terrafugia Transition; both are nearing feasible production, albeit with large, six-figure price tags. If you've developed a car to fly over traffic jams like we all wish for, you've got less than a week to register with DARPA for the January 14th kickoff.

[Source: Inside Line | Image: Hanna-Barbera]