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Gadget-Heavy Trucks For Fun And Mayhem 150

eeex writes: "The SmarTruck, built by the US army, is the ultimate Bond car, able to spill oil and tacks behind itself, equipped with bulletproof glass, a built-in grenade launcher and laser gun, electrified door handles, night vision devices, and more." And on a more civilian note, Irish writes: "alphaWorks is making some sort of car, a 2002 Ford Explorer called the TechMobile, that incorporates a funky combinations of technologies including communication middleware, voice recognitions car controls, and Bluetooth PAN." (Read more below.)

"The Bluetooth PAN will be created using BlueDrekar and Bluetooth Ethernet Emulator. You will be able to inter-connect PDA, cellphones, and a laptops to play games, exchange data, and control things like the doors, lights of the car, and stereo. TSpaces will be the backbone communication middleware for accessing and controlling the electrical functions of the car. They are going to use Blue Eyes, a user interface that detects a person's eyeballs and responds to blinking commands to turn on/off the lights and doors of the car. ViaVoice will perform voice recognition email management, voice-activated control of air conditioning in the car, as well as voice-enabled access to MP3 files through the car stereo system. The car will debut at a conference in San Francisco."

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Gadget-Heavy Trucks For Fun And Mayhem

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    *sarcasm on* Yes, this project was started on January 20th at 12:01 in the afternoon and the military, known for their ability to quickly develop functional new prototypes cranked this baby out in a few months! *sarcasm off* This was funding from the Clinton era. Sorry to burst your bubble. All the bad and stupid things in the world didn't start on Bush's first day in office. The government, the military, and the real world doesn't run that way.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What's up with this "black box" idea? I'm sure there are privacy concerns here if they mean like on a plane where it records the pilots' conversations. But maybe they just mean it records my direction, speed, location and other stats about me.

    Of course, that would be invaluable information for reconstructing the circumstnces of an accident to determine fault, so I'll bet insurance companies will be pushing for this technology, as will law enforcement. Of course, the cameras mounted at every intersection help, but they're just not invasive enough.

    Does anyone have one of those cars where you dial up and ask for directions? Anyone worried about having a microphone planted in your car that can be potentially turned on without you being aware of it?

    Has anyone noticed those black helicopters? What's up with that?

    Anyway, I'm glad I'm wearing this tinfoil hat.
  • I'd think that the majority of people who need to be concerned about these (if there are any) would have sources that are more reliable than /. and probably told them all about such vehicles a long time ago.

  • Another communist nation eh? Gosh, that's a valid reason. Hey, I don't like your right-wing Republican government - I vote for invading America. After all, it's the closest country to us (if you go west) and I don't agree with the way it runs itself.

  • http://www.icrc-hq.com/st.htm
    http://www.newscientist.com/dailynews/news.jsp?i d= ns9999822

  • Once again, a knife-weilding maniac has shown us the way.
  • Yep, that is all we need.

    A vehicle that ocupies a greater than needed amount of space, while using a greater than needed amount of fuel, to inflate the egos and fit the lifestyle of what we currently think of success. So we add devices that consume a greater than average amount of the drivers attention, being that the SUV is more survivable in crashes it will all even out. Except for those of us actually driving small fuel efficent cars or (gasp!) ride bikes to work, who get run over by drivers while they are checking their e-mail with their blue tooth enabled, satelite link PDA.

    Progress, I guess.
  • Yeah, well, according to the article at SpaceDaily.com:

    "Its primary subsystems have been packaged in several transportable, semi-trailer-sized shipping containers, allowing it to be deployed to other test or operational locations."

    I'd really like to see how they manage to fit a laser with enough power to damage or destroy even a small (perhaps man-sized or car-sized) target into the back of a pickup truck and still have room for those cell-phone-and-360-degree-camera-using passengers.

    Granted, who knows what the military has under development, but a year isn't much time to engineer a three-semi (or one-747) sized piece of equipment down to a truck-bed.
  • This is true. And it's not like Ford's spilling oil out behind them is some kind of new technological invention.

    Just goes to show you a bug CAN be a feature if marketed to the right people.
  • Jeeps (Willys) had this in the late 40's - early 50's. Of course, it wasn't very reliable :)
  • The SmarTruck, built by the US army [...] able to spill oil [...] behind itself

    Hell, that's nothing new. My Civic has been doing that for years! Of course, I can't turn it off. Oh well.
  • This isn't meant for use as a weapon. It's meant to ensure Bush stays rich even after we have orbiting solar power sats sending us terawatts of free power via microwave beams.

    You've never played sim-city, have you? Terawatts of power cutting through downtown nowhereville is a bad side effect

  • The second thing (rear wheels turning the same way as the front) *is* strafing (to a certain extent), that's exactly what I was talking about... If all the wheels could be turned 90 degrees you could imagine that being pretty useful at low speeds for parking.

    As for the "snowplow", I'm not sute sure why anyone took that seriously.
  • Have you ever seen the movie "Stripes"? That RV ruled. The whole movie was pretty damn good though.
  • by glwillia ( 31211 )
    There's another article on this at the BBC [bbc.co.uk]

    Comes with an interior shot, too...
  • one does not play Illuminati, it plays with you...


    The law is that which it boldly asserted and plausibly maintained..
  • Since this thing is based on the Ford Explorer, you can probably expect oil usage to increase only slightly when deploying oil slicks.
  • Yeah, think so far outside of the box by copying other people's ideas.

    Or thats what my first impression was. Still really very cool. I was thinking to myself, great they are giving away all the secrets of the thing, then I realized that possibly the majority of people who would run into these things probably wont be reading something like this.
  • Anyone else familiar with the paper and dice game [sjgames.com] from Steve Jackson? There was even a computer version for Apple II once.

  • It's not that hard - blindness (as in do not stare into laser with remaining eye).

  • I can't wait until gas prices in the US reach $5/gallon, then all these huge SUV driving motherf*ckers will be crying. Me, I drive the Insight, I get about 55 mpg, so that's 605 miles to the 11 gallon tank.

    microsoft, it's what's for dinner

  • We got ourselves one heavily armed recreational vehicle!

  • It's just like the Urban Assault Vehicle from the movie Stripes with Bill Murray. The main difference being that that was an RV and this is a truck.
  • Well, you'd need one hell of a lot of steel plate to stop a land mine, remote-controlled explosive, limpet mine or similar device, wouldn't you? Given that mines can be dangerous to main battle tanks, ISTR... so probably they figured that it wasn't worth it.

    The ballistic protection should help against small-arms fire. They're not trying to design something that can absorb an antitank missile -- just light protection. Which makes sense for civillians, such as those worried about being kidnapping targets.

    A kidnapper probably wouldn't use a rocket or a mine since he needs the victim alive (or, at least, present the impression that the victim is still alive)... but he might well use somebody to shoot the driver, or so forth.
  • ...but is it remote-controllable via an intuitive touch-pad?
  • ...enormous do everything trucks are a far cry from the BMW 750iL, not to mention the smaller cars like Z3 or Z8.
  • I got stuck on the part:

    We've got to think out of the box

    In other words, original thinking requires copying Sci-fi...

  • If this is truely a bond car, it will have a fold-down bed in the back...with a martini bar. I don't want to know what the government plans to do with that.

  • I played that!!


  • My car has been spilling oil behind it for years. What the heck took them so long?
  • Its interesting to note how the technology the army uses has evolved since WWII, as a result of a shift in our motivation for combat. In that war, we were ostensibly trying to free people from the tyranny of Fascism, and as such had popular support from the local population . Since then we've entered into any number of battle zones where we are there out of our own selfish interests, and naturally we don't have popular support in the areas where our troops are. Development of Less Lethal weapons such as this vehicle are nothing more than an attempt to avoid the fact that we're not there to help the local population, we're there to help ourselves (See: Somalia - Oil, Grenada - Get eyes off of Reagan's illicit activities, bombing Kosovo - Get eyes of Clinton's illicit activities.)


    Fsck the millennium, we want it now.
  • This is the follow up to the Excursion. Its called the Excretion and it will be targetted at the Soccer Mom who needs to haul around her kids, 500 lbs of cappucino AND wreck the environment more than the last model
  • Or gods forbid a Sunbeam Alpine, Aston-Martin DB5, or Lotus Elan.

    How the hell did the krauts get in on the Bond movies anyhow? He could be driving an XK8 Jag or an Aston-Martin Volante... you know, british cars for a british guy. I think it all started when M made him trade in his Berretta for a Walther in Dr. No (1st movie, but not 1st book... Bond used the Barretta in From Russia With Love).

  • by oojah ( 113006 )
    Shouldn't that be VAN? :)

    (vehicle area network)
  • I want to know more about this "laser" weapon.

    And the
    "Alan Parsons Project"....
    "Death star"

    But seriously, do we have laser destructive enough to warrant being on a super vehicle? If so, why is this the first I have heard of them?
  • "...an attentive user interface that detects a person's eyeballs and responds to blinking commands to turn on/off the lights and doors of the car."

    I can just see it now: It dark out, you get something in your eye and blink like crazy. The vehicle starts flashing the lights, causing you to blink even more from the blinding flashes of light!

  • The alphaWorks TechMobile:

    The Platinum sponsors of this project are WebSphere, XML, and Linux.

    Glad to see that XML and Linux are finally starting to understand marketing...

  • Real Bond cars are handmade by Aston Marton.

    Partially right. But guess who owns Aston Martin [astonmartin.co.uk]? Yup, the Ford Motor Company [ford.com]. And believe me, it's disgusting to see that a $150,000 car has the same huge, black plastic doorlocks as a normal Ford Transit van. Utterly tasteless.

  • Correct, but in Europe we don't elect morons like George W. Bush to be president.

    Maybe this vehicle is for his kids, so they can drink and drive without being arrested?

  • Don't know who came up with the idea of modding your post to Flamebait... But this demonstrates the truth in this post [slashdot.org].
  • Read the Black Book of Communism sometime and then tell me if you still think Communism is such a hot idea.

    (Guys, if you moderate this, please take the time to understand what I mean here before slapping Offtopic, Flamebait or whatever on it.)

    And who do you think wrote that book? Try to read the real communist books, for example Das Kapital by Marx. That's a book that talks about communism the way it's meant to be, not what Stalin and his accomplices made of it. Ever read The Animal Farm and understood what it was talking about? Guess not, or you wouldn't have posted the article this way.

    And no, I'm not a communist. I'm just a European guy that's open-minded enough to recognise that communism indeed is based on some great ideas. Guys like Stalin had as much to do with communism as Hitler had with fascism: they all used (or better: abused) a philosophy to suppress and murder. Mind you, I'm not defending these guys here, just mention them to illustrate things.

    I know there are a lot of people that will disapprove of this post simply because I used the name of Hitler, but let's go even further... Have you ever read the Bible? As a good WASP I'm sure you have. Did it ever occur to you that what Jesus preached was more communism than the American dream or did you fail to notice that? His ideas where for the larger part the same as those of Engels and Marx. Still, most people in Western countries believe in this ideals but a lot frown on communism. Isn't that ironic? No, I'm not religious either...

    Just my 2 Eurocents opinion...

  • Without claiming to be an auto geek I have to wonder whether this would be a useful technique. When your wheels lock, you lose the ability to steer.

    Correct, that's exactly why every modern car has ABS.

  • I've read some Marx, and I found him to be wholly unconvincing, not to mention a raving anti-semite.

    Antisemitism is not part of communism, whether or not Marx had antisemitic feelings.

    While Marx never specifies what happens to the people who refuse to be transformed, his cronies in the past century have been all too eager to demonstrate what happens to those poor souls.

    That's what I meant when I mentioned Stalin: that's not what communism is about. The part of Marx you quote here, talks about the Revolution. I don't know too many revolutions that have taken place without some people getting killed. Bad thing, sure, but still nothing about the ideas behind communism. This part talks about the way towards communism, not when communism has been reached. Compare it to the French Revolution. I'm sure you feel good about the situation afterwards, but a lot of people lost their heads in the process. And what about the Civil War in America? Quite a lot of corpses, but a better situation afterwards. The struggle to get to that situation was not because the Northern states had the idea that killing Southerns was a good thing, but because they wanted to achieve a state in which certain things didn't happen.

    The numerous deads under Stalin were not the victims of communism, but of the paranoia that Stalin suffered from (or should I say, that the East-European people suffered from). The ideas behind communism were great, but things just didn't turn out the way they should have. Described quite accurately by Orwell, all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

    Communism is a great idea, it's just too fragile to be in use in a large community. During the sixties and seventies there were some communist settlements in the Netherlands. Worked great as long as everyone stood behind the ideas of it. Same goes for Israelian kibbutses. It's not the idea of communism that's wrong, just a few evil people that take advantage of it.

  • I like the fact that the Ford vehicle from AlphaWorks is driving on the bad firestone tires. Priceless.
  • Using this "Laser"..........
    this is awesome, this makes my want to join the army specail forces, just for the chance to be in one of theese vehicles.
  • "I believe [Alan Parsons Project] was some sort of hovercraft [snpp.com]."


  • $40 Logitech joystick? Not in a military project, surely.
    $4 Million Logitech joystick is more like it!

    Hacker: A criminal who breaks into computer systems
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ... of its mission. Go here for the article. [cnn.com]

    Quote from CNN:

    Warren, Michigan-based NAC, which is part of the Army's Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, designed the SmarTruck with urban warfare in mind -- against enemies such as terrorists, mobsters or urban warlords.

    "The reason we were thinking about urban warfare is because the Army increasingly is being pulled into policing duties," Fuller said.

    The SmarTruck might be used to ferry important dignitaries or explore enemy territory. It won't however, be used as an offensive weapon.

    "We're not trying to kill anybody," she said. "What we want to do is immobilize."

  • SmartTruck: Truck body. Cap. Super PP. OJ rear. SS rear. SD rear. GL, LL both in tur, not linked. HiRes Comp +2. Cargo 4 spcs. 1 driver. 1 gunner. 2 pass. Armor: F:15 R:5 L:5 R:5 T:0 B:0

  • I'd rather have one with a Duramax 6600.

    300 HP and 520 ft/lbs stock with a turbocharger.

    Now the Dodges are going to loose thier Cummins Turbodiesels in favor of a DC diesel, not too sure about that, Cummins makes a really good engine.

    I don't think the Unimog I used ever made it above 45 though. It was sweet off the road though.

    Used one to haul around beehives in Northern Israel in '94.
  • I see it used in the place of "War Wagons", Suburbans and Excursions with armor plate and armored glass used for VIP operations, prisoner transport.

    It could also be used in a patrol mode similar to what the Hummers do in urban areas.

    These vehicles would be used in low intensity areas or the rear. Places like Kosovo now, or Somolia in the early 90s.
  • >And it's not like Ford's spilling oil out behind
    >them is some kind of new technological

    Yeah, but they must be feeling foolish about buying out Jaguar now that the government has paid them to develop a simlar technology . . .

    Acdtually, a friend of mine solved that oil leak problem on an XJ12. Amazing what you can do with a Chevy 400 . . . :)

    hawk, still missing his Impala 400

  • But it's not a Bond Car. Real Bond cars are handmade by Aston Marton.
  • Due to "unspecified" distractions, the results [hoppers.com.au] of the first test drive left a bit to be desired.
  • But seriously, do we have laser destructive enough to warrant being on a super vehicle? If so, why is this the first I have heard of them?

    Because they suck compared to guns :).

    Any decent-sized industrial CO2 laser could be used as a weapon, if you cart around a generator to run it with.

    • If you can track the target, you've *hit* the target.

    • Lasers hitting haze scatter. Lasers also disperse due to diffraction and poor optics. CO2 lasers are also absorbed by the CO2 in the air. All of this limits range.

    • You can store a lot of machine guns with ammo for the same amount of weight.

    • Metal stamped with cube mirror patterns will really ruin the day of whoever's firing the laser (the armour will burn from the light it doesn't reflect, but it'll still send > 90% of the laser light back to the turret).

    Lasers will almost certainly be useful for niche applications, but for damaging most small-ish targets, it's hard to beat kinetic slugs.
  • Guess it'll only be deployed in areas that have gas stations every 30 miles.

  • ...the SmarTruck (wtf kinda name is that, anyway?)...

    Maybe that's where they bought it: "Shop Smart. Shop S-Mart."

  • Will the civilian models come with Gold Cross?
  • They mention they have all-wheel steering, which I'm pretty sure means all four wheels are capable or turning independantly.

    That instantly brought to mind the coolest steering feature you could ever have - strafing! You just glide back and forth while pointed straight ahead the whole time.

    Second most useful feature - the emergency "snowplow" ski stop as all wheels turn inward at once.

  • The vehicle also comes equipped with a black box, like the ones that record mechanical functions and pilot conversations on airplanes.
    "The auto companies are very interested in this feature," Wend said. "They are looking at adapting those black boxes for consumer use any day now. They could reduce warranty costs and speed up service by diagnosing and even fixing problems remotely."

    I wonder if the reason they're interested is "reduce warranty costs" == "deny warranty claims"

    I've heard that there may be tracking/monitoring equipment in rental cars nowadays. Anybody heard anything?
  • ...as if those oversized SUV drivers weren't getting annoying enough... now they're gonna slick me if I try and pass and plug my ass if I push my grocery cart in their path!?
  • No, I think the idea of sicking military contractors on creating a bond car counts, though... ;-)

    Aaron Sherman (ajs@ajs.com)
  • If you've seen anything about Project Land Warrior [army.mil], you'd know that in addition to the generals watching Bond flicks, the read Robert Anson Heinlein and watch Aliens...
  • Well, sometimes you don't want a tank or a Jeep, say. A tank can give the wrong impression if you're trying to be low-key -- either for PR reasons, where a tank could be interpreted as a show of power, or because an American tank in certain places would be an obvious target. And they're not designed for transporting more people, so if you want to do a civillian rescue, they're very suboptimal.

    Jeeps can go more places than tanks, and probably don't piss off the locals quite as much if they're not yet seething, but they're incredibly vulnerable to small-arms fire since they're so open. Might have been helpful in, say, Mogadishu (sp?) or Sarajevo.

    So this may make a good compromise between light protection and lower profile. Good, say, for rescues, for covert ops, light escort missions and so forth. But you clearly wouldn't put it up against T-72s on an open field...

  • > Major Emciessi! It's General Protectionfault on the phone! He demands to know why our SmarTrucks' laser keep spontaneously activating themselves and burning '1 0wn J00!' into nearby objects!

    Yeah, as if Linux would solve anything here: "Major Emciessi! It's Colonel Panic on the phone! He demands ..."

  • And I'm not talking about the CD-ROM. You can't fight wars or put down riots without your caffeine.
  • How come this thing reminds me of the EM-50 from Stripes?? I keep hearing Bill Murray saying razzle dazzle or seeing him doing the Aunt Jemima thing with that hot MP. It's still cool though.
  • When we lived in S.C. We would see sometimes Semi-trucks going down I95 at 90 miles per hour. Just happened to have a full sized subruban with very dark windows, in the front and rear.

    One bright afternoon, one of these caravans went zooming past us, and you could see a guy setting at a machine gun in the back. So I am willing to say these are escort truck's for munitions, or nuclear fuel transport.
  • there is a press release on the Ford Excursion here:


    Apparently there were going to run it off of propane.

    But an even larger one is the Chrysler Unimog, snippet here:

    http://www.climateark.org/articles/2001/1st/dachve hi.htm

    which is somewhat imprssive:

    DaimlerChrysler's decision to market its nine-foot-tall Unimog truck as a luxurious off-road vehicle has environmentalists fuming about the necessity for this oversized "dinosaur" on US roads. The 12,500-pound behemoth--bigger than General Motors' Hummer and Ford's Excursion--gets about 10 miles to the gallon. SUVs, driven by many urban and suburban residents who never go off-road, have come under fire for a number of reasons, including poor gas mileage and safety issues when involved in two-car collisions.

    I have this picture of this being driven by a short little old lady who only visists the grandkids, and plays doom on the weekends.

    (I really did know a silver haired lady who used to go into one store to get the latest doom expansion packs. It was funny as heck to hear her talk!)

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

  • I don't want to know what the government plans to do with that.

    Give the Bush twins a place to drink where no one will check ID? ;)
  • After reading the article I am not sure what use this would be in a military to military confrontation. It does seem like it would be usefull to attack the public when they do things like excercise thier right to protest.
  • Obvious from your post that you don't have one of the truly sucky commutes and haven't dealt with drivers with the As-a-matter-of-fact-I-do-own-the-road,-my-enormous -4x4-and-me-that-is people who torment drivers of cars. One of these would be really handy when dealing with these jerks, but of course restraint must be exercised or Timothy McVeigh will have a cellmate.

    Personally, I could do with a localized EMP device, which kills the ignition in a road-rager vehicle. Nothing like cooling his heels at the roadside for a while to reflect on his need to be "there" 0.1 second sooner than having to wait behind one more vehicle.

    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • alphaWorks is making some sort of car, a 2002 Ford Explorer called the TechMobile, ...

    Well, hope they take it easy on the road, ot they'll have more mayhem than they bargained for...

    Rumor has it the self destruct button adds a couple PSI to the Wilderness AT tires.

    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • It's interesting that the US military has decided to take cues from Ian Flemming. You'd think it would be more useful to seek guidance from someone like Peter Wright [five.org.uk] who was one of the real life developers of the spy gadgets attributed to Q [imdb.com] in the Bond [jamesbond.com] movies. You'd think they would have sought out the real thing rather than intentionally imitating art. Somehow, I'd expect the systems to work better if the source material wasn't hollywood fantesy. Oh, well. These are your tax $$$ at work...

  • I have an 88' Lincoln Continental.
    I get 12 miles to the gallon,
    It has all kinds of gadgets, like a do-hicky that turns on my lights when it gets dark for me.
    And it drives like a tank, and leaks oil behind it!
    And I'm sure the doors are thick enough to stop small arms fire!
    And, I am putting a mp3 system in the trunk, and possibly a cross over cable attached in the back seat so that friends can sync laptops.
    I am actually thinking of running Viavoice, so that I could have voice control, but right now I am only running dos on the computer, and its only 120mhz, so Windows would kinda kill it.
  • How long until the local police officers decide they need a similar vehicle to keep us in check?
  • seeing a trend with my brother? Yes, he has good taste :)
    I had a 1991 Eagle Talon Tsi AWD (built by Mitsu), and now I drive a rally blue WRX. People ask about it every time I stop to re-fuel.

    "What are we going to do tonight, Bill?"
  • Or Lotus. They should use the Esprit V-8 twin turbo in the next movie. With submarine conversion option, of course.

    "What are we going to do tonight, Bill?"
  • That's not how it usually works. The idea has been around for a while. The systems I've seen have the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels at low speeds to give you a smaller tunring radius. At higher speeds the rear wheels turn in the same direction as the front wheels for added stability.

    "What are we going to do tonight, Bill?"
  • I saw a picture of this truck (the Army's version) in Popular Mechanics. There was a $40 Logitech joystick sitting on the back seat - incidentally, the same joystick a friend of mine owns. I'd like to know exactly what the hell a Logitech joystick is doing in there? Is it so the vehicle's occupants can play Quake Tournament on the seat mounted displays over a satellite link to the Internet? If you tell me it's actually part of the truck's command & control systems, I'm going to be ROTFLMAO.
  • Yes. Say our government buys a bunch of these "SmarTrucks". Since we are being hypothetical here, say a situation develops in which we depend on one of these SUV-on-steroids to rescue a diplomat. We get the diplomat inside the vehicle, and in the interest of our hypothesis, a wild-eyed terrorist grabs the door handle and is immobilized by the shock. Another terrorist, wild-eyed as the first, opens fire with his submachine gun, only to see his bullets richochet. A small cadre of wild-eyed terrorists sitting behind a barricade are blown away by the grenade launcher. As the SmarTruck speeds away, the wild-eyed terrorists in pursuit are foiled by an oil slick.

    Meanwhile, another wild-eyed terrorist taps away on a keyboard...

    Inside the SmarTruck, the driver's eyes light up in horror as these dreaded words scroll across his heads-up display: How are you gentlemen !!

    Sure, this "SmarTruck" is gonna impress the hell out of a lot of people (just read all the previous posts). But what good will that be when someone remotely overflows a buffer and disables the vehicle's systems? I'm a U.S. citizen--may I have my money back?

  • by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @12:56PM (#185806)
    DaimlerChrysler isn't building and marketing the Unimog in the US for an SUV, it's a medium duty truck to compete with the Isuzu/General Motors medium duty truck.

    I used an Unimog in Israel, one with a flat bed and a crane, nice work truck...but it's not SUV. They've been built since the early 50s and are really stout trucks. But the MB diesel in the Unimog, which will be the diesel in the new Dodge Ram trucks isn't near as nice as the Isuzu diesel that GM is putting in the new HD series Chevy and GM 2500/3500 trucks.

    http://www.mercedes-benz.com/e/ecars/unimog/defa ul t.htm

    In the US it's going to be sold through Freightliner...not the usual stop for the Soccer Mom looking for a truck.

  • by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs@nOspam.ajs.com> on Thursday May 31, 2001 @05:35PM (#185807) Homepage Journal
    "We've got to think out of the box"

    In other words, original thinking requires copying Sci-fi...

    You're not the first person to say this, and I'm still confused by it. Since when did "think outside of the box" mean "think only original thoughts"?

    Whatever your local value of "the box" is, thinking outside of the box is getting a different perspective and thinking in ways that those who still have the provincial perspective cannot.

    Granted, one of the benefits of this process is often original ideas, but another is the fusion of external ideas with your own. Clearly, this car is not an exact replica of a bond car, but something that seeks to apply modern military technology to the idea (ala Bond) of an offensive and defensive-capable super-car.

    Vanity, vanity... all the world is vanity, and there is nothing new under the sun. But that doesn't mean that you can't blend the old in interesting ways!

    Aaron Sherman (ajs@ajs.com)
  • by kahuna720 ( 56586 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @12:54PM (#185808) Homepage
    "Can you name the truck with four-wheel drive, smells like a steak and seats 35..

    "Canyonero! Canyonero! [dailyradar.com]"

  • by dmccarty ( 152630 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @08:18PM (#185809)
    Since then we've entered into any number of battle zones where we are there out of our own selfish interests, [...]

    I can't believe your troll comment got moderated insightful. Any new point of conflict will prove itself a testing ground for new weaponry, technology and fighting tactics. Unlike Nazi Germany in the Spanish civil war, the US does not enter into wars merely to check out its newfangled armaments. And lack of popular support is no reason not to do the right thing, especially when 51% (read: "popular") of the population is eradicating the other 49.

    (See: Somalia - Oil, Grenada - Get eyes off of Reagan's illicit activities, bombing Kosovo - Get eyes of Clinton's illicit activities.)

    Get real. There's no oil in Somalia. The Grenada invasion took place because the US didn't want another Communist nation 200 miles off its shores. And the Kosovo conflict only came about after two years of fruitless and half-hearted peace attempts by the European neighbors.

    Among the other "selfish" conflicts we've fought in include Korea (my, that was egotistical of us), Vietnam (gee, we only lost 50,000 troops for our own, selfish reasons) and Kuwait, because of our original maritime partnership. (Although you could make a strong case there that if they had no oil we might not have been as quick to rescue them--or have created the partnership at all.) The only selfish interests that I see are of those that would rather malign their own country instead of serve it.


  • by Deskpoet ( 215561 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @01:58PM (#185810) Homepage Journal
    I think you mistake who these weapons are REALLY aimed at: "the domestic enemy".

    Like the soon-to-be-mounted-on-your-nearest-HUMVEE microwave weapon (which will pleasantly fry your skin to 160 degrees), the Less Lethal weapons are to curb disturbances such as those seen in Seattle in 1999 or perhaps Paris in 1968.

    Those far-away lands you mentioned are the dumping ground for depleted-uranium weapons and similar toxic toys that Raytheon and the boys cook up in their labs. We get the good stuff, here...

    Your central thesis is certainly correct, though: the US is the Country of Carpetbaggers.

  • by r_j_prahad ( 309298 ) <r_j_prahadNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Thursday May 31, 2001 @12:23PM (#185811)
    It seems more likely they watched "Stripes", with Bill Murray. This is more like the Urban Assault Vehicle from that movie than anything that Bond or his villians have had.
  • by Aerog ( 324274 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @12:57PM (#185812) Homepage
    They just needed to go to South Africa and take a look at the "theft deterrent devices" many clever motorists have installed, like the flamethrowers along the bottom of both sides of the car activated with a foot pedal.
  • by oh shoot ( 79863 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @12:25PM (#185814) Homepage
    It's called the 'Excursion.' It's really the ultimate battle vehicle:

    - It is HUGE. This strikes fear into the hearts of your bravest enemies
    - Because of the size, it can ram anything off the road, even Suburbans
    - It has bars that pop down from underneath it when you try to run something over, just in case your enemy saw Speed and wants to go under you
    - The ultimate Gas Embargo: rather than helping you cut off a nation's supply of gas, it simply uses it up before they can
    - Built for modern war, this is a real suburban assault vehicle
    - Large enough to smuggle small european nations in the back

    Thes things are going fast! Buy now!

    And for the ultimate in biological warfare, check out the Aztek: Ugly enough to cause enemies to vomit upon seeing it.
  • by Floyd Turbo ( 84609 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @06:10PM (#185815) Journal
    Somalia - Oil

    Remind me, just when did they discover oil in Somalia? I must have missed it. So did the CIA, for that matter:

    One of the world's poorest and least developed countries, Somalia has few resources. CIA World Factbook Entry for Somalia [cia.gov]

  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @12:27PM (#185816) Homepage Journal
    Quality of my life has defenetely risen since I was able to buy one of the new Tracks equiped with the best army stuff they stole from Bond movies. Now, when I take the track to the shop, they don't just check oil levels and wipe the windshield. They also check the levels of plutonium for my laser turret with 360degree of freedom. I load cannons with enough ammo for a two way grocery trip. Every time I take highway on my way home from work, I push the button to dump enough nails and sharp edged pieces of coil behind me, so that no one would try to cut me of, I even added an extra powered air pump to the sprayer. This way the nails cover all four lanes. My night vision cameras and heat seaking missiles are very convenient for an evening tour of the city. Did I mention that the track can also float in the water? That's a super. Once I tried using the laser to blast a car barrier in the shopping mall when someone double parked me, I got a ticket that time. Damn. In any case, I sure am glad that the army decided to start selling these babies to general public, they are to die for!
  • by ScorpionsFan ( 155198 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @12:21PM (#185817)
    Here [bbc.co.uk] is another article about the new US army's truck
  • by Dr.Dubious DDQ ( 11968 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @12:54PM (#185818) Homepage

    I sure hope this works better than the Navy's "Smart Ship"...

    ("Major Emciessi! It's General Protectionfault on the phone! He demands to know why our SmarTrucks' laser keep spontaneously activating themselves and burning '1 0wn J00!' into nearby objects!...)

  • by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs@nOspam.ajs.com> on Thursday May 31, 2001 @12:15PM (#185819) Homepage Journal
    In case you haven't read the article, this very first paragraph stopped me in my tracks:

    It was a direct order from the high command: Before designers at the Army's National Automotive Center in Warren began creating their first-ever concept truck, they had to watch four James Bond movies.

    Wow. Generals *can* be geeks! ;-)

    Aaron Sherman (ajs@ajs.com)
  • by devphil ( 51341 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @12:41PM (#185820) Homepage
    The SmarTruck, built by the US army [...] able to spill oil [...] behind itself

    Only the Bush administration would be able to approve this and pull it off. The next SmarTruck after this will feature high-pressure hoses blasting oil for hundreds of feet to knock down walls, launching "hot-oil ballons" over hills to burst on enemy's heads, and creating an even bigger demand for more oil drilling.

    This isn't meant for use as a weapon. It's meant to ensure Bush stays rich even after we have orbiting solar power sats sending us terawatts of free power via microwave beams.


  • by SirWhoopass ( 108232 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @12:40PM (#185821)
    Yes, the US does have destructive lasers. On June 7 of last year, the US Army shot down a missile using a laser. Here's a SpaceDaily.com story [spacedaily.com] on the test. Here's a Slashdot story [slashdot.org] on equipping a 747 with a laser to shoot down missiles.
  • by Exedore ( 223159 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @12:27PM (#185822)

    One of SmarTruck's advanced features, all-wheel steering, is due out on some 2002 GM vehicles.

    All wheel steering really isn't that new. Honda Preludes had this feature in the late 80's to early 90's IIRC. Looks like GM uses Microsoft's definition of innovation. Still, the SmarTruck (wtf kinda name is that, anyway?) looks like the ultimate road-rage vehicle. Just the thing for those crowded L.A. freeways.

  • by protein folder ( 228881 ) on Thursday May 31, 2001 @12:51PM (#185823)
    "The SmarTruck, built by the US army [...] able to spill oil [...] behind itself "

    I could have just given them my 1986 Oldsmobile Delta 88, and saved them a few million dollars.


  • by ColGraff ( 454761 ) <maron1.mindspring@com> on Thursday May 31, 2001 @12:54PM (#185824) Homepage Journal
    We are ABOVE a third-world city street. Directly below us, the SmarTruck is zooming along at 75mph. Most of the traffic (animals, bikes, cars) is pulled over, but the SmarTruck is being pursued by four cop cars, and a helicopter. All are firing at the SmarTruck.

    We SWITCH views to INSIDE the SmarTruck, our perspective is that of the proverbial bug on the windshield looking into the car. We see the Driver, a US Army enlisted man. In the passenger seat, but edging almost into the driver's seat is a Scantily-Clad Bond-Type Woman. Blonde, sexy, etc.

    Woman: They're firing at us! We're going to die!
    Army guy: (laughes) That'll be the day...

    We see the Army Guy manipulating controls on the dash. After each button is pressed, we switch views to SEE: An oil slick and tacks spilling out of the rear bumper, and the cop cars skidding out of control. The laser turret pops out, and shoots down the helicopter. An approaching squad of evil-looking soldiers is exposed to tear gas and grenade volleys. We SWITCH back to the car.

    Woman: Oh John, you saved out lives!
    Army Guy: I never go out without protection.

    The Woman starts to remove her shirt as we fade out to a montage of scenes of the SmarTruck in action.

    Narrator: Be an army of one. Join today.

    (end of ad)

    Please note, it was not my intention to give offense. This is a simple spoof of US Army ads and James Bond movies. If I have given offense, I sincerely apologize.

I came, I saw, I deleted all your files.