Many Chinese kids probably know the ancient war story where a general convinced the rival nation’s king to tie all their boats together to reduce sea sickness, and then proceeded to burn all the connected ships down. If you haven’t heard that story before, go look it up, it’s pretty funny.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP labs (more specifically, the ModLab) have developed a bunch of robots with the similar idea, albeit for a different purpose. The Tactically Expandable Maritime Platform, or TEMP, is a series of robots, which detached, act as their own vessels, but when connected, provide a stable and robust surface on which vehicles, supplies and much more can be moved over bodies of water which would have been impossible before.

This system is a 1:12 scale of what the ModLab is proposing to DARPA. In the video, you can see the shipping container robots all hook up together, to form a path for a much larger RC car to drive across.

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