Today the US Department of Defense announced that they would be collaborating with Carnegie Mellon University to develop an autonomous copilot for DARPA’s upcoming “helicopter jeep” project. Yes, the military is developing a helicopter jeep.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a 17-month, $988,000 contract to Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute to develop an autonomous flight system for the Transformer (TX) Program, which is exploring the feasibility of a military ground vehicle that could transform into a vertical-take-off-and-landing (VTOL) air vehicle.
Discover has descended in force upon the unexpecting San Diego International Comic-Con, not only to host our own panel (“Abusing the Sci of Sci-Fi,” tonight, 6pm, Room 6AB) but to pore over the rest of the conference and bring the choicest nuggets back to our own SNF readers.
To that end, I just emerged from a great panel hosted by the sci-fi blog (and new Discover syndication partner) io9 about “Sci-Fi That Will Change Your Life.” The panel included some io9ers (Annalee Newitz, Charlie Jane Anders, Meredith Woerner, Cyriaque Lamar) plus some sci-fi industry folks (Marc Bernardin, Bonnie Burton, Doug Wolk, and Lou Anders). Among this big panel of very dialed in sci-fi heads, they covered a really wide range of recent work, picking out their favorite, most “life-changing” material. Here are the recommendations that sounded the most recommendable of all:
There’s a lot going on in January for science fiction fans—the start of the last ten episodes of Battlestar Galactica, the series finale of Stargate Atlantis*, the release of Outlander (which is either going to be embarrassingly bad or Totally Awesome) and more. Io9 has put together a handy day-by-day breakdown of January so you can buy your movie tickets, set your DVR, and get in line at the comic-book store at the right time.
*The nice people at SciFi sent me a screener of the last two episodes, and I can tell you now the penultimate episode of Stargate Atlantis on January 2nd is one of their cleverest ever in terms of storytelling.