• Jan 3, 2010
The 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]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Will I be able to convert my existing car into a flying car by 2015?

      I would also like to get one of those hover-boards too.
        • 5 Years Ago
        haha lol , back to the future 2
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's not likely that an LP would be used to transform with—the grooves are too narrow compared to a record that only has one track per side. Also it's an SL-1200. Not that it really matters.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Roth is a Qbert fan. I love this site more and more.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Oh snap! you're right, SL1200....SP1200 was a sampler. DOH! And yeah, you're right -12" single is far more likely, or these days, a "lacker" (custom lacquer)

        Going to hang my head in shame, now - my time as arecording engineer, all for naught.

        -Dan
      • 5 Years Ago

      Stupid idea.

      This vehicle will be so loud and noisy you might as well paint it red and put some huge flashing lights on top of it.

      Probably cheaper to just place some wheels on a mini helicopter.
      • 5 Years Ago
      For military applications, it's a great idea.

      But for civilians who have enough trouble driving in two dimensions, adding a third one (with gravity) is just asking for trouble.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Uh... these fools here in LA can't even drive correct.

        So why do I need to be in more fear with people flying over me??

        Stupid.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hey, I've been driving in Florida for over a decade, and I haven't had a single accident or even a near-accident.

        ...but I do agree that the current-state of American drivers' education is extremely poor... we don't preach lane-discipline, proper-merging techniques, or that turn-signals are for avoiding accidents, not just "following the law"...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Funny, I thought about the countless times when a car just breaks down in the middle of the road. Imagine that some 50 to 100 meters in the air...
        • 5 Years Ago
        @DiRF

        no disrespect, I am also from Florida (only reason I used it as an example) as with all assumptions there are exceptions to the rules. Yes, some people do take driving seriously like you, other Car enthusiasts, or myself. I don't really blame the people I kind of blame the lack of those in charge of changing driving education in the US. I'd love to have German Driving education implemented here.

        on topic: I would have figured our Govt would have already been testing the possibility of such a vehicle years ago.
        • 5 Years Ago
        +1 well said, If the driving education in the US was anywhere near the same as acquiring a pilot's license perhaps people would take driving a little more seriously. cough Florida cough. and seriously, its not even the old people anymore.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think it's a freakin' good idea, but it should made hard-to-controlWhy? Survivial of the smartest:

      "Those who don't have enough brain to fly will crash into a skyscraper OR keep moving on land."
      • 5 Years Ago
      Washington? Transformer? Now there's an oxymoron. The only way those two words should be used in the same sentence is if NASA builds a shuttle large enouph to include the entire liberal democrat party and sends them directly into the sun. And we could even name it the "Washington Transformer".
      "NASA claims credit for 'Transforming Washington' by ridding the country of enept, corrupt, braindead liberals on the Washington Transformer".
      Now there's a headline we could be proud of.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sorry about the spelling, was'nt aware the spelling police were out there.
        Kennedy was by no means a liberal. He was probably one of the most conservative democrats in history and he was'nt the pres when we landed on the moon. Carter should be hog tied to the nose of the rocket. Or maybe have the nose cone firmly embeded somewhere on him that the sun never shines.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You'd have to ship NASA off too, considering that their most historic achievements were made under liberal Democrat administrations (moon landing under Kennedy, Voyagers 1 & 2 under Carter).

        Also, it's "inept."
        • 5 Years Ago
        First of all, apostrophes go after the "n" in contractions like "can't, don't, wasn't, etc." It's not a "spelling police" thing--you degrade your entire argument when you screw up basic grammar and spelling like that. It makes you look like an idiot even before anyone reads what you're trying to say.

        Which brings us to a point of order: by definition, wouldn't a liberal government be more "transforming" than a conservative one? Now, I'm not arguing which is better or worse (because we all know that no one is walking away from this conversation with a life-changing epiphany, right?)

        But literally, the definition of the words "conservative" (disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change) and "liberal" (favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs) seem to be exactly opposite of what you're implying.

        Just sayin'
        • 5 Years Ago
        I hate political comments on autoblog, but orion's correct.

        Any online argument with flawed spelling or lack of understanding of definitions makes the point moot.

        just sayin
      • 5 Years Ago
      Great! The government will never get it running and spend countless billions getting closer to bankruptcy while pleasing the fluoride filled brains with flashy flying car commercials to go along with the constant bombardment of militaristic propaganda. I was getting tired of feeling guilty for not joining the national guard, now I can feel some false sense of patriotism for wasteful engineering budgets as well!
      • 5 Years Ago
      My car already flies....don't tell the Pentagon.

      • 5 Years Ago
      The Moller Skycar has been near production for the last two decades.
      • 5 Years Ago
      When are we gonna see the DARPA Gundam Challenge?
      • 5 Years Ago
      great, now i have to worry about some asian lady who can't see over the horizon.
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