21 Juli 2009

Peaceful Diet – Martial Mission

Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot to feed on twigs and leaves

Cyclone Power Technologies Inc., Pompano Beach (Florida, USA) announced on 7 July 2009 that it has completed the first stage of its project with Robotic Technology Inc. (RTI), of Potomac, MD, to develop a beta biomass engine system used to power RTI’s Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR). This is a Phase II SBIR project sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Defense Sciences Office.

In this first stage Cyclone successfully coupled its proprietary steam generator with a compact biomass furnace to be used with the prototype EATR, and produced sufficient steam to power Cyclone’s six-cylinder, 16HP Waste Heat Engine (WHE). With the completion of this stage, RTI has paid Cyclone a total of $50,000 in development fees. Cyclone will now proceed to attaching the WHE to this heat source and commence system performance testing with the goal of delivering a complete beta system to RTI in the next 90 days. RTI’s EATR is an autonomous robotic platform able to perform long-range, long-endurance military missions without the need for manual or conventional re-fueling.

The patent pending robotic system can find, ingest and extract energy from biomass in the environment, as well as use conventional and alternative fuels (such as gasoline, diesel, propane and solar) when suitable. “We are excited and encouraged by Cyclone’s progress,” stated Dr. Robert Finkelstein, President of RTI. “Cyclone’s technology is ideal for our robotic vehicle to perform a wide range of either military or civilian tasks. The potential commercial applications are enormous for biomass- powered equipment and vehicles.”

In response to speculations concerning a possibly carnivorous “diet” of the robot including human corpses, Cyclone issued a press release on 17 July 2009 stressing that the robot was strictly vegetarian. The company added: “The engine Cyclone has developed to power the EATR runs on fuel no scarier than twigs, grass clippings and wood chips.”

“We completely understand the public’s concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population, but that is not our mission,” stated Harry Schoell, Cyclone’s CEO. “We are focused on demonstrating that our engines can create usable, green power from plentiful, renewable plant matter. The commercial applications alone for this earth-friendly energy solution are enormous.”

Source: Cyclone Power Technologies Inc., press releases, 2009-07-07 and 2007-07-17.

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