Marine Robot Helicopters Can Now Snatch Cargo Without Landing

Illustration for article titled Marine Robot Helicopters Can Now Snatch Cargo Without Landing

With a skilled pilot at the controls, a helicopter can easily pick up cargo while remaining hovering in the air. It's a time-saving maneuver that the Marine Corps' K-MAX autonomous helicopter has just learned to perform itself.


The military has been testing the K-MAX for just over half a year now, and with a million pounds of hauled cargo under its belt, so far it's been a great success. But every time a new load needs to be hooked up, the K-MAX has to first land which costs both precious time and fuel. Not any more, though. Last week the robot helicopter performed its first 'hot hookup' where it stayed hovering in the air while cargo was connected to its lift cable.

When it eventually perfects the maneuver, future cargo pickups and drop-offs will take the K-MAX considerably less time to perform. And will even require less manpower, which is the ultimate goal of developing a robotic cargo transport. Eventually the military hopes that drop-offs will be as easy for troops as placing an order from a tablet and waiting for the deliveryman—err, deliverybot—to arrive. No tip required. [Innovation News Daily]

Image by Regional Command Southwest/US Marine Corps



I just watched a show where they used the kmax (manned version) and explained how its one of the trickiest helicopters in the world to fly, which makes this type of automation a little more special. Hopefully this this will filter down to one of the K-max biggest clients, ski resorts, so they can do maintenance and left repair and installation cheaper (not that it will make lift tickets cheaper)