REX, which can carry up to 200 kilograms, is designed to assist groups of 3-10 ground soldiers on operational and logistical missions for up to 72 hours without refueling, and acts as a robotic “beast of burden” for the modern soldier. It has a top speed of 7.2 mph and can follow soldiers with minimal operator attention.
Experts at IAI estimate that the demand for such a product could amount to tens of thousands of orders, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, in both the local and the international market, for a wide variety of military and civil applications.
“The robotic vehicle follows the lead soldier from a given distance, utilizing technology developed and patented by IAI. Using simple commands, including ‘stop’, ‘fetch’, and ‘heel’, the lead soldier controls the robot without being distracted from the mission at hand.
2. Dynalifter is part airship, part airplane and the spiritual and engineering successor to Howard Hughes’ never-built Megalifter. It combines the light weight and huge payload of an airship with the stability and handling of an airplane.
Two advantages of the unique design is it uses one-third the fuel that a jet plane does and it can land in short distances, Rist said. “We’ve got some that can lift 200 tons and land in 4,000 feet,” he said. While the prototype is an ultralight aircraft capable of carrying two people and fuel, Rist said the production Dynalifter will be scaled up significantly. The goal is to offer ships up to 1,000 feet long with a cargo capacity of 250 tons. “The customer is asking for a 600 foot version, one that can carry about 30 to 40 tons.” The company has 20 orders.
He sees the technology taking the middle ground between cargo ships and jet service — faster than a boat, cheaper than a plane. “They travel at optimum at about 140 knots,” Rist said. “As they get down to 80, you can save that much more fuel because the more the helium takes over.” He said that intercontinental delivery times would be comparable to second-day air service, with a transatlantic crossing taking as little as 23 hours.