It is always nice to have more than just a single function or purpose when it comes to machines, as that would increase the level of efficiency of a particular machine. For instance, the robotic K-MAX medium lift helicopter has shown itself to be extremely effective in Afghanistan where throughout 33 months of war, the Marines managed to complete close to 2,000 cargo and supply sorties using a mere couple of the unmanned birds.

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It seems that the K-MAX medium lift helicopter has a spanking new mission, which would be to fight fires. November 5th sw Kaman and Lockheed Martin test out a robotic version of this helicopter at an airfield in upstate New York. A tiny Indago quadrotor drone made full use of its electro-optical/infrared sensors in order to pick out a rapacious fire that burned in a canister, before relaying such information to a human operator who would be on the ground.

The operator’s job is to send out an unmanned K-MAX helicopter so that it can make short work of the fire. Apart from a pre-programmed flight path, there is virtually no other forms of guidance for the K-MAX, as it carries 3,000 gallons of water to extinguish the flames in a single hour.

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