Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot
The Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR) is a project by Robotic Technology Inc. (RTI) and Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. to develop a robotic vehicle that could forage for plant biomass to fuel itself, theoretically operating indefinitely. It is being developed as a concept as part of the DARPA military projects for the United States military.
The project elicited some internet and media rumors after news circulated that the robot would (or at least could) ingest human remains. Cyclone Power Technologies have stated that animal or human biomass was not intended to be used in the waste heat combustion engine of the robot, and that sensors would be able to distinguish foraged materials although the project overview from RTI lists other sources including chicken fat.
The robot is powered by a steam engine built by the Cyclone Power Technologies company called the Cyclone Waste Heat Engine, which produces power through external combustion (i.e., combustion outside of the engine) of biomass. It is an example of a Rankine cycle engine. The engine will power the vehicle's movement as well as being used to recharge the batteries that run the sensors, arms and ancillary devices.
The EATR is programmed to consume certain types of vegetation, and only those types of vegetation. EATR can ingest biomass, including meat, in order to convert it into fuel. EATR can also use other fuels such as gasoline, kerosene, cooking oil, or solar energy. The company also includes "chicken fat" as one of its proposed fuel sources in the project overview.
The system is quoted as delivering an expected 100 miles (~161 km) of driving on 150 lbs (~68 kg) of vegetation.
- "Biomass-Eating Military Robot Is a Vegetarian, Company Says". FOXNews.com. 2009-07-16. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
- Shachtman, Noah (2009-07-17). "Danger Room What’s Next in National Security Company Denies its Robots Feed on the Dead". Wired. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
- Press release, RTI Inc. (2009 July 16). "Press Release", Cyclone Power Technologies Responds to Rumors about “Flesh Eating” Military Robot, pp. 1–2.
- Press release, RTI Inc. (2009 April 6). "Brief Project Overview", EATR: ENERGETICALLY AUTONOMOUS TACTICAL ROBOT, pp. 22.