I think DARPA is officially pulling ahead of NASA in the (unofficial) in-the-wild testing war. DARPA has now produced a product that doesn’t just need to be tested in one in-the-wild environment. No. They need four separate environments!
Meet the CAAT – the captive air amphibious transporter. It’s a tank-link vehicle that’s meant to perform on water, glide over debris in its path and then transition to dry land (and vice versa). Here’s a bit about it from CNET:
By combining the tread-like design of a tank and dozens of air-filled pontoons, the 4-ton CAAT shown in the DARPA demonstration video below seamlessly travels through water with what appears to be respectable speed (we are waiting to hear back from DARPA on just how fast). The amphibious navigator truly shines as it drives over debris (which would normally cause problems for conventional boats), and ascends out of the water onto the beach or concrete without issue.
By the way, that test CAAT is 1/5 the size of the planned final product.
(In case you’re wondering how I came up with the four environments number, I counted: 1. Open water 2. Debris filled water 3. Transitioning to land 4. Marshy shallow water.)