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The Military Transportation

DARPA Develops Stealth Motorcycle For US Special Forces 93

Posted by Soulskill
from the hard-to-sneak-with-a-harley dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "Allen McDuffee reports that DARPA is developing a hybrid-powered motorcycle to soundlessly penetrate remote areas and execute complex, lightning-fast raids. The idea is to develop a hybrid power system that relies on both electric and gas power, allowing special ops to go off-road and zip past enemy forces with the silence of an electric engine, while also being able to handle extended missions and higher speeds with a supplemental gas tank. Logos Technologies plans to fit its quieted, multifuel hybrid-electric power system with an all-electric bike from San Francisco-based manufacturer BRD Motorcycles that uses an existing racing bike, the RedShift MX, a 250-pound all-electric moto that retails for $15,000. The RedShift MX has a two-hour range, but will be extended with a gas tank the size of which will be determined by the military in the research period. The focus on the electric element suggests that DARPA is more concerned with the stealthiness of the motorcycle than it is efficiency."
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DARPA Develops Stealth Motorcycle For US Special Forces

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  • by Hognoxious (631665) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @05:25AM (#46847005) Homepage Journal

    Elon Musk already has one that goes twice as fast for ten times the distance and it's invisible too. He's just waiting for the right time to announce it so people don't think he's a publicity seeking twat.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 26, 2014 @05:29AM (#46847015)

      Next year Apple will produce one with rounded corners. The year after Apple fans will be telling everyone that Apple invented the motorbike. In year 3 Apple will sue Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha and demand their products are banned in the USA, the US courts will agree.

      • US Harley fans will suddenly find a common purpose with jap bike makers.

        • How can one call the Law Enforcement on biker gangs you can't hear, and that say, "Yes Sir", and "Yes Mam." It's just wrong.

          Another American Icon that has been brushed aside.
      • the year after that, Samsung will make a moped, then sell it with a multi-billion dollar ad campaign describing how a homeless person liked it more than an iCycle.

  • "DARPA Developers Steal Motorcycle From US Special Forces" :)

  • Been done (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    been done [wikia.com].

  • Does it come with a heads up display?

  • the sound of the tires rolling on the ground, the sound of the chain & sprockets, the electric motor will have a little noise too,

    at least it wont sound like these fags: http://www.southparkstudios.co... [southparkstudios.com]
    • It might have a hub mounted electric motor. Some motorised bicycles use those.

    • by AK Marc (707885) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @06:59AM (#46847163)
      I ride down a hill every day coming home from work. I pull the clutch and coast out of gear. I've passed within 10 feet of pedestrians before they notice me. ~35 mph, no noticable chain noise. The loudest thing to me is the wind noise, but I'm on it, so I don't expect that I'm hearing what a pedestrian would hear.

      The tire noise is elevated when cornering (smooth tread when upright, deepening tread when leaned over, close to silent going straight, but I can hear it when I lean into a corner). And yes, the idling engine is still one of the noisiest parts of the bike. The only time I hear the chain is when it's long overdue for an adjustment. A chain, in practice, is as quiet as a shaft or belt. Not like a bicycle.

      Based on your comments, I presume you ride a bicycle and are guessing. Well, that and you don't maintain your own bike (because you are incompetent/lazy), and aren't very good at riding it. When I was riding 100+ miles a week, I maintained my own bicycle, and I'd adjust the chain/shifters daily. There was not much noise from the chain. That only happens with cheap chains, worn gears, and poor shifters. And that points to a lazy and ignorant owner.
      • I pull the clutch and coast out of gear.

        This from the guy who claims to be an advanced driver because he tries to heel and toe an automatic going at 7 mph in city traffic.

        Do you still mindlessly copy the vehicle in front, even if it runs a red?

        • by AK Marc (707885)

          This from the guy who claims to be an advanced driver because he tries to heel and toe an automatic going at 7 mph in city traffic.

          You are lying.

          Do you still mindlessly copy the vehicle in front, even if it runs a red?

          "Still"? Do you "still" beat your wife? You are begging the question. You are stating a question in a manner that presumes I mindlessly copy someone. Another lie. Your question is invalid.

          Why are you lying in a manner designed to incite or discredit? Are you really so pissed about some thread where you posted stupid stuff about driving, and I pointed it out? (yes, that's presumption, I have no idea which idiots I was correcting repeatedly, or how many cites I gave to heel-toe indicatin

    • Can't the tire sounds be compensated for by using wide, low pressure tires? Surely they won't as energy-efficient, but if stealthiness is the key...
  • Efficiency (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GrahamCox (741991) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @05:57AM (#46847061) Homepage
    The focus on the electric element suggests that DARPA is more concerned with the stealthiness of the motorcycle than it is efficiency

    Wha? Electric motors are way more efficient than IC engines (90%+ vs. 25%), so having an electric drive makes this more efficient. Stealthiness also follows from efficiency - sound is energy, so a lot of sound is an indication of an unnecessary waste of energy.
    • by Tontoman (737489) *
      Depends on how the domain is defined. Electricity comes from power plants and batteries, which have varying lower efficiency values. This motorcycle likely fills a niche requirement where fuel saving is not a large consideration.
      • A fixed RPM diesel is *significantly* more efficient than a car engine, on the whole. We're still not approaching the 90% that GP quotes as the efficiency for an electric, but it's enough of an improvement to still waste less energy despite the losses inherent in transmission lines.

        The long-distance transmission of energy, incidentally, is where the real loss in the electrical grid comes into play. That's not really an issue when you're talking about hybrid drive vehicles. Still, I've wondered for years why

        • by GrahamCox (741991)
          I've wondered for years why car manufacturers don't design a pure electric car (plug-in), and fit it with a fixed RPM generator for extended range instead of trying to design a hugely convoluted hybrid drive train that can receive power from both.

          I agree, but it's slowly starting to dawn on them that this is an efficient approach (it's only been 50 years since the railways realised the same thing). Parallel hybrids like the Prius make me laugh - it's like they really don't know how to proceed with electr
          • Actually, over the years, automotive mechanical transmissions have gotten very very good. No, you are not going to match the efficient of a modern 6 or 7 speed transmission with a generator, a run of cable, and an electric motor.

            electric motors are very very good at variable speeds and acceleration, but at a constant highway speed it makes no sense to turn mechanical energy into electrical energy, just to turn it right back into mechanical energy.

            yes! that's how they do it in trains, but the automotive
            • seems like the way to go. The car will have limited (single hop) range, but could recharge itself while parked. Since the engine is small and running just to drive a generator, it can be very light and efficient. Not big enough to push a car, but big enough to charge the batteries over several hours.

            • by GrahamCox (741991)
              No, you are not going to match the efficient of a modern 6 or 7 speed transmission with a generator, a run of cable, and an electric motor.

              I think it's arguable - it comes out really very close. It's not just the efficiency though, it's the dramatic weight saving. No heavy engine case, flywheel, clutch, gearbox, driveshaft, differential, even brakes - assuming the motors are part of the wheels, which seems to be the way to go. Don't worry about the unsprung weight, 100kW motors weighing only 20kg for thi
  • by skoskav (1551805) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @06:03AM (#46847073)
    Add some mini rockets and machine guns, and you've created the MegaForce [youtube.com]
  • Hm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by marcello_dl (667940)

    Not very stealthy against a fishing line on the ground, anyway.

  • Imagining those guys doing a raid, and then popping wheelies on the way out.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @07:35AM (#46847209) Journal
    A serial hybrid motorcycle could be very efficient. A simple 4 or 5 HP gas engine tuned for efficiency turning a generator to charge medium sized battery. A pure electric drive train, motor probably built into the hub of the rear wheel eliminating drive chains/shaft. Some over night charging off the grid. Pure electric range probably not much. This configuration can be optimized for fuel efficiency.

    But the higher cost of such a vehicle cuts into possible savings due to fuel efficiency. Places where fuel costs are high, say India, capital to buy more expensive motorcycles is scarce. Still I expect this configuration come out of China, India, and other scooter/ motorcycle/ moped dominated markets of South Asia. Not DARPA.

    I heard about an innovative financing of solar panels for such capital scarce regions. Instead of trying to sell the panels to the customers, they try to rent it or sell only the electricity to the customers. So people look at it as so many nyra/rupee/dinar per month instead of total cost to buy it out right. It was an NPR report from couple of years ago. Not much news about it since. So it must have died soon after the report.

    It is so illogical and insane it is so frustrating. The world capital markets are sloshing around with some 2 or 3 trillion dollars in cash. They don't find opportunities worth investing. At the same time converting free solar energy into usable form of electricity is deemed unviable because the capital costs are high. The only cost for solar and wind energy is the amortization and debt service. There is no more recurring expenses like buying coal or natural gas.

    If you believe in free markets, Adam Smith and invisible hand of the markets, at least a few billion dollars will flow from these capital market to projects of solar energy and efficient hybrid motor cycles and pure electric mopeds. But the pundits of Wall Street keep saying the investment is not worth it. Mostly people are comparing the average cost of electricity production by solar with that of natural gas or coal. But Solar energy production peak comes close to peak electricity demand and peak spot price of electricity. Still it is not worth it?

    May be if we link the western grid with the eastern grid and couple peak demand of eastern seaboard demand at 4 to 6 pm with peak production in Arizona may be it would become more profitable? Don't know.

    • I want a pedal/electric street legal hybrid motorcycle which I can drive on the freeway to work.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I want a pedal/electric street legal hybrid motorcycle which I can drive on the freeway to work.

        Mixing the words "pedal" and "freeway" will allow you to get to the morgue efficiently, not work.

        Besides, I owned a pedal-augmented moped 30+ years ago. Pedal to start it, pedal if you ran out of gas, otherwise 35 - 40MPH top speed and 100MPG. They've been around for a very long time. Your demands are too high.

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      It is so illogical and insane it is so frustrating. The world capital markets are sloshing around with some 2 or 3 trillion dollars in cash. They don't find opportunities worth investing. At the same time converting free solar energy into usable form of electricity is deemed unviable because the capital costs are high. The only cost for solar and wind energy is the amortization and debt service. There is no more recurring expenses like buying coal or natural gas. ...
      If you believe in free markets, Adam Smith and invisible hand of the markets, at least a few billion dollars will flow from these capital market to projects of solar energy and efficient hybrid motor cycles and pure electric mopeds. But the pundits of Wall Street keep saying the investment is not worth it.

      That huge pool of capital is privately held. They're not just looking for things to spend it on - they're looking to spend it on things that MAKE MONEY.

      Sure, the people of India could use solar panels. However, they don't have money to spend, so this huge pool of capital isn't going to do a thing for them. The only reason it would get spent on panels is if they could produce electricity cheaper than what the Indians are already paying, or if the Indians were willing to pay more for the privilege of not h

      • Lots of charts about trends in solar energy here [costofsolar.com] and here. [pv-magazine.com] The contrarian view from a business anlayst from Forbes is here. [forbes.com]

        The Forbes guy says the cost reduction is largely due to subsidies and incentives. But he also says we need to worry about depletion of silicon too like worrying about depletion of fossil fuels.

        Also, Clean Tech supporters often assert that the point of competitiveness will be accelerated because conventional energy prices must rise, primarily because of depletion of fossil fuel resources. But they don’t seem to think that the depletion of silicon needed to make photovoltaic cells; depletion matters, but the rate of depletion is often exaggerated.

        . This guy says depletion of fossil fuel is over estimated and depletion of silicon is something to worry about. This genius does not seem to understand half the mass of planet Earth i

        • by Rich0 (548339)

          I tend to agree that its time will come, and I'm fully supportive of public R&D to make it happen. But, the difference between an iPad and a Newton is timing, and Wall Street is probably concerned about that.

          Clearly there is no fundamental limitation on the supply of silicon - it is only about the cost to refine it/etc.

      • by PPH (736903)

        That huge pool of capital is privately held. They're not just looking for things to spend it on - they're looking to spend it on things that MAKE MONEY.

        And have zero risk.

        Following the collapse of the CDO market in '07, they don't have many good places to dump the high risk tranches of investment risk. And now, with the Federal Reserve backing out of their quantitative easing role, what's a wealthy capitalist to do?

        Keep in mind that the biggest, most evil capitalists who are seeking guaranteed high returns aren't a bunch of fat capitalists. They are outfits like CalPERS [wikipedia.org], who absolutely must protect the pensions of their clients with all the political clo

        • by Rich0 (548339)

          That huge pool of capital is privately held. They're not just looking for things to spend it on - they're looking to spend it on things that MAKE MONEY.

          And have zero risk.

          Following the collapse of the CDO market in '07, they don't have many good places to dump the high risk tranches of investment risk. And now, with the Federal Reserve backing out of their quantitative easing role, what's a wealthy capitalist to do?

          Keep in mind that the biggest, most evil capitalists who are seeking guaranteed high returns aren't a bunch of fat capitalists. They are outfits like CalPERS [wikipedia.org], who absolutely must protect the pensions of their clients with all the political clout they can muster. Financial markets are now geared up to do their bidding. Screw the little guy who needs funding to run a business.

          Understood, but I think the last thing we as a society ought to do is have economic policies that encourage people with wealth to just park it somewhere so that they can get free money. That includes pension funds - those funding them can either not promise pensions in the first place, or they can actually put enough money into the fund to pay for them.

          I'm actually not a big fan of pensions in the first place. It isn't that I don't like the concept. What I dislike about them is that employees treat them

          • by PPH (736903)

            Some good ideas. But keep in mind that in places like California, public employees represent a significant voting block. So anything you might propose to clean the system up will just get voted down.

            • by Rich0 (548339)

              Some good ideas. But keep in mind that in places like California, public employees represent a significant voting block. So anything you might propose to clean the system up will just get voted down.

              Something like this would only benefit public employees. Right now they work for the promise of a pension, which it seems fairly likely the next generation will simply refuse to pay them. What incentive do they have to uphold the deal the previous generation made?

              What I propose is to replace the current form of pensions with one where the money is paid out immediately to employees in accounts they own, but which are likely treated like 401ks/etc as far as access goes. That means that there is no promise

    • by timeOday (582209)

      At the same time converting free solar energy into usable form of electricity is deemed unviable because the capital costs are high.

      Fortunately, that is not true. Solar adoption is increasing very rapidly [greentechmedia.com]. From an article 6 months ago:

      two-thirds of all solar PV capacity in place worldwide has been installed since January 2011.

      Let's put that into perspective. It took nearly four decades to install 50 gigawatts of PV capacity worldwide. But in the last 2 1/2 years, the industry jumped from 50 gigawatt

    • by kheldan (1460303)

      motor probably built into the hub of the rear wheel eliminating drive chains/shaft

      Bad idea, actually, would increase unsprung mass, greatly affecting the handling of the bike in general, and it would also limit the physical size and dimensions of the motor itself. Better to use shaft drive and have the motor close to the center of mass of the bike, which would also keep it closer to the power source and control electronics.

    • by Agripa (139780)

      A pure electric drive train, motor probably built into the hub of the rear wheel eliminating drive chains/shaft.

      Especially on an off-road vehicle, you probably want to keep the electric motor on the frame and couple it to the wheel to avoid raising the unsprung mass.

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @08:25AM (#46847283)

    The Saltville PD in SW Virginia has just started using a fully electric motorcycle to patrol areas where miscreants are likely to hear traditional vehicles approaching, in order to better apprehend them.

    Saltville PD running electric motorcycle [swvatoday.com]

  • Once again... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jddeluxe (965655)
    Hugh Pickens dot Com comes up with last week's news!
  • As long as they give a demo model to Anne Hathaway [geekoutlaw.com], it's a win for everybody.
  • Finally! A hybrid vehicle that conservatives can believe in!

    • That was exactly my thought...

      An engineer: "We've invented a new hybrid motorcycle."
      A conservative political activist: "Solar cells are Chinese, oil is American! The hybrid is not the American way!"
      An engineer: "Uh...we've designed it for military covert ops."
      A conservative political activist [drooling]: "I love hybrids! I love hybrids!"

      :-)

  • Shut up and take my money already!

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Motorcycles actually are a smaller target for radar. The radar tends to pick up on other vehicles if there are any nearby. I notice this on those "Your Speed Is..." signs they set up around town, I have to get pretty close on my motorcycle before they work. I was also let off a ticket once because the officer said he didn't get a good readout on my bike. That was a few years ago, so it's entirely possible lidar and so forth make the difference insignificant - obviously clocking motorcycles is doable if s
  • Back in my day, that thing would've cost $500 per bolt, minimum.

  • I'm not saying a hybrid electric motorcycle is bad, but I wonder if they've really done the due diligence necessary to completely write-off the internal combustion engine? A decade ago I had a Honda VTX 1800, which had a 1795cc V-Twin on it, and with the stock pipes it was *unbelievably* quiet. Other bikers - proponents of the "loud pipes save lives" school of thought - would warn me that I should swap out the pipes to make more noise lest I get killed by some inattentive automobile driver. I'm sure an el
  • There was nothing about radar-absorbing paint. So much for the civilian market.
  • Battery powered motorcycles make a lot of sense for general consumers, if the price is right. Most of the disadvantages that keep people from buying all-electric cars don't come into play with motorcycles, especially when they are a 2d vehicle.

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