Thursday, August 4, 2011

Saving Lives with Remote Control Trucks

It is such a simple concept, but why are we only hearing this story nearly 10 years after the start of the War in Afghanistan. The Video from ABC gives the full details, but essentially a soldier's brother sent him a remote control Traxxas Stampede truck with a mounted wireless camera. The soldier utilized the RC Truck as a surveillance drone if you will, to check ahead for road side bombs.

The camera worked as the advanced vision, while the toy itself was fast enough to keep up speed to stay ahead for its recon mission. Some of these Traxxas Spampede Trucks can reach a top speed of 65 and up. Obviously the use of a $500 "Toy Surveillance" system seems like a pie in the sky innovation, but it actually worked.

The RC truck tripped a wire leading to a massive explosive that saved the lives of six soldiers who borrowed the mini-rover while travelling along a perilous road in Afghanistan. This is very impressive for a device that is a small fraction of the cost of the more expensive iRobot Ground Robots meant to serve similar purposes. Obviously drones and other high tech machines have been created with these ideas in mind, but I guess they just missed the turn at the local hobby shop, where they could have saved a buck on this life saving "toy". 

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