Popular Science celebrates the eternal human urge to go bigger! Better! Farther! Inside, a look at three vehicles with the need to exceed.
Building on their victory at last year's Darpa Urban Challenge autonomous road race, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have teamed with construction-equipment giant Caterpillar to develop the world's biggest robotic dump trucks. The collaboration will give autonomous upgrades to the next generation of Caterpillar's largest hauler, a 47-foot-long monster that can carry 380 tons of dirt or mined goods. The Carnegie Mellon team plans to adapt the same technology used in its Darpa win to give the truck the ability to navigate around obstacles. Caterpillar is banking that the unmanned trucks will boost efficiency in remote locales, where skilled drivers might be in short supply, and reduce accidents, like collisions and drivers falling from the big rigs. The trucks are expected to start self-hauling by 2010.single page
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.