Let’s get these suckers some ROBOTS.
Here, robots, you take over—the Air Force is pooped. They’ve been hauling the military’s stuff all over the place for decades, and in their weary dreams, they see a cargo pallet—those platforms upon which everything from bricks to heavy machinery is packed and shipped—that can trundle around on its own, take orders from remote humans, maneuver in tight spaces, and play nicely with other equipment the Air Forces uses for shipping. And they’re determined to make that dream a reality. The Air Force recently hired two companies to come up with these magic pallets.
Once reserved for those who couldn’t pay their electricity bills or wanted to grow weed inside, snagging some free power via grappling hook is now a military operation. As described on the National Defense Education Network website, the Air Force has designed a “Bat Hook” which soldiers can heave into the air — action-hero style — to steal some juice from suspended power lines.
“We work very closely with Special Operations,” says Dave Coates, lead engineer on the project at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (in the video below, and as shown by Popular Science). Their request? “Is there a way that you could possibly give us something like Batman?”
The Bat Hook system, technically called Remote Auxiliary Power System (RAPS), pierces the power line’s insulation to draw current directly where it’s needed, to charge batteries on the ground, for example.