Eyebots, what kind of propulsion do they use?

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Decker
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Eyebots, what kind of propulsion do they use?

Post by Decker » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:23 pm

This is not often talked about, but sometimes I do wonder, how exactly do the Eyebots lift and propel themselves? .. This might be one of the great remaining mysteries of the Fallout setting, wikia entries on the web come empty on the subject and even the original Fallout Bibles had nothing to say on this.


Alien Drones from Mothership Zeta do have 'hoverplates' under them, which presumably cancel out gravity somehow, but that is alien tech not known by humans pre-war.. I mean, if humans had this kind of tech pre-war, Sentry Bots would not need legs, cars or APCs would not need wheels or tracks, Mr Handies would not have jet engines and so forth. Surely if this kind of tech was available, it would not be wasted only on flying radio speaker bots and not put on anything else?


My theory on this is a concealed miniaturized air breathing fusion rocket engine with multiple small vectored thrust vents all around the eyebot, providing just about enough thrust to lift the eyebot via ground effect reflection, with counternoise generators and anti-acoustic materials on the airframe to cancel out most of the noise. The front grill would be the main air intake. Whole thing could be air-cooled as well, what with the constant airflow going on.


Using a fusion rocket design with nuclear fuel would also solve the power requirements problem of having to hover around a half meter wide metal sphere of a robot which cannot be very light - If this was being done with batteries/microfusion cells and concealed air fans, it would eat up lots of power and end up with very limited flight times (hour or so at most, maybe) - Hovering around an eyebot is actually much more power intensive than running around in power armor even. In game the eyebots seem to be having quite long fuel endurances, might even be years - Advanced mini-fusion reactor might be able to do this, but a conventional jet engine could not.. Does not sound too practical, yeah, but aside from supersciency antigravity alien hover tech, this is the only thing I could come up with that made any kind of sense in the Fallout setting.


Any other ideas on this, how do you think the RobCo Eyebots could fly?


 



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IvoryOwl
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If jet engines (Mr. Handies)

Post by IvoryOwl » Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:00 am

If jet engines fueled by some sort of petroleum (Mr. Handies) aren't supposed to last that long then how does one explain Codsworth in FO4? He lasted for two hundred years after the fallout which is quite a long period of time to go without maintenance or extra fuel. The way he spoke made it sound like he stood there in the house the entire time attending to his "duties", so if he didn't went scavenging for fuel and nobody kept him in shape, what can explain it?



As for the robots that patrol DC or even the Mojave, for one, we don't know how long they have been online - could be that someone with the smarts (or even stupidity) managed to stumble upon one and triggered its sensors to go online after being dormant for years.



Honestly we could come up with many theories as to why they're still functional, in relative good shape and able to fly after so many decades but part of me believes the main reason is "just because". Maybe there's some kind of powerful NPC entity that loves repairing these lil' bots just so we can have a functional radio while roaming the wastes.



The devs never really gave any lore on them on a world that is full of it, to me, that tells me they added 'em just because it made sense or because they wanted to. Kinda like magic in fantasy worlds - you can't explain everything, it just exists. As to why they can float... man... I dunno. Your guess is good as mine.



 



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Decker
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@IvoryOwl: There are in fact

Post by Decker » Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:34 pm

@IvoryOwl: There are in fact two different types of Mr.Handies in the Fallout setting, Type I (seen in F3, FNV and F4) and Type II (seen in F1 and F2).


The original Type II Mr.Handy design document from Fallout 1 era uses an internal nuclear power unit (miniature reactor or high performance RTG perhaps - in any case it uses nuclear fuel), and two external electric ducted fan pods via vectored thrust ground effect reflection for propulsion.


http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Mr._Handy_design_document


Eyebot obviously does not have any external air propellers or ducted fans, like a Type II handy or IRL quadcopter drone would have. I suspect that even if one could somehow cram a ducted fan inside an eyebot sphere, it would need quite big holes in the bottom to lift up the eyebot because the fan airflow speed would be slower than a jet or a rocket which just needs small nozzles or vents to direct the high pressure jets of hot air.


Type I Mr.Handy has something resembling a jet engine or a rocket engine under it's main body. Jet engine in such a situation would run out of fuel in mere hour or less, a conventional chemical rocket in a few dozen seconds.. I seriously suspect that the oil containing 'Mr.Handy fuel' junk item seen in F4 is actually intended for the Blowtorch/flamethrower arm tool/weapon.. wikia text seems to state that also Type I Mr.Handies can refill their nuclear fuel and maintain each other. From the lore, we know that Gasoline used to cost $1400 per gallon just before the Great War because it was becoming so scarce resource - Kerosene used by jet engines was propably about just as expensive and hard to come by, if not more so - Mr.Handies simply would not be able to keep finding kerosene jet fuel for centuries, and a middle class family simply could not afford to feed fuel into a hoverbot robot butler that burns away years earnings worth of jet fuel in a few hours.


In F4, if you approach some of the crashed Skylanes passenger jet wreckages, you can find out that often their wrecked jet engine pods are quite heavily radioactive - Hinting towards the common use of nuclear rocket/jet engines in aircraft. Propably still cheaper than $1400 per gallon of kerosene - Big jet engines would consume huge quantities of kerosene fuel (One long distance jumbo jet flight can be the equivalent of one whole Formula 1 race event IIRC).


In F3, FNV or F4, none of the type I Mr.Handies never run out of fuel in days, months or even a year of hovering around. Only a small nuclear/fusion reactor could have this kind of endurance.. an air breathing fusion rocket is just a variation on reactor design, instead of just electric power, it produces primarily thrust/lift - Propably produces a bit of byproduct electricity as well to power the robots electronics.


Fusion rocket is of course entirely theoretical highly advanced design concept, but I would still consider it more likely alternative than alien anti-gravity especially for the Eyebots. After all, fusion devices of various kinds were in use before the Great War in the fallout setting - Fusion cores, nuclear power units, nuclear powered aircraft etc.


As for why so many Eyebots are running around in F3, the Enclave had been producing them for quite a while, propably at the Adams Air Force Base. Enclave eyebot variants can be recognized from their internal self-destruct explosion - Regular pre-war eyebots do not blow up if they get shot down.


F4 eyebots seem to be of pre-war (non-exploding) design, and there are not that many of them around. Diamond City uses a few for media transmitter/security purposes. (Of course with Automatron DLC the Rust Devils raiders use them and the Mechanist mass produces them in many variants.)


However, one thing I do consider likely for using anti-gravity tech are the Think Tank brainbots from FNV Old World Blues DLC. But I think this is more of an exception than the rule, not seen outside of the Big Empty area and obviously developed well after the Great War. (RobCo Eyebots are pre-war.)


 



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jlf65
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If I were to guess how

Post by jlf65 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:45 pm

If I were to guess how Eyebots "float", they create a low-pressure zone above them that "sucks" them upwards. That's how many insects fly, and seems a likely guess considering there's are no visible thrusters on the lower part of the bot.



paragonskeep
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When you watch the New Vegas

Post by paragonskeep » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:53 pm

When you watch the New Vegas trailer there are exhaust vents on the lower back of the eyebot with the heat vapors to "see" exhaust. So it does have propulsion of some sort. My guess given the environment of Fallout Lore would be a type of nuclear reaction for power. Small fusion cells or something that is rechargeable. The LR ED-E's tapes mention "get you to your recharging bay". 


If life is but a test, where's the damn answer key?!?!?

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jlf65
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Those vents may push it

Post by jlf65 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:32 am

Those vents may push it forwards, but I don't see how they can make it hover - they don't point down, and they're in the wrong place to make it hover motionless even if directed downwards as they're on the BACK of the bot.



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Decker
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@jlf65: If the eyebots could

Post by Decker » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:35 am

@jlf65: If the eyebots could float by only creating low-pressure above, they would not be restricted into few feet of altitude, like they are in the game. Also worth considering is that a half meter wide metal sphere like an eyebot would be quite heavy even if it was mostly hollow inside, not sure if a slight pressure change above could lift it up.. Insects can do this easily because they are so small and thus weigh very little in relation to their wing surface areas. I suspect an eyebot size/weight object would simply have to direct thrust of some sort downwards to stay airborne.


Ground effect reflection of downward thrust (from few feet high up at most) is so good option for an eyebot because it effectively multiplies the power of the thrusters/jets or whatever propulsion is used by about a factor of two or more - i.e. being able to hover with only half or so of the thrust it would take to actually fly higher.


@paragonskeep: Agreed, there is obviously hot air/exhaust coming out of the Duraframe eyebot ED-E in the trailer. Propably something heats up the air inside, pressurizes it and pushes it out in a controlled vectored fashion to make the eyebot hover.


The reason why I did not think rechargeables could provide the power requirements is because flying (especially flying without large wings with only vectored thrust) is very energy intensive when compared to frex walking - A power armor like T-45a might be able to run around 24 hours with a backpack full of microfusion cells, but an eyebot cannot fit in nowhere near that many cells and uses up energy about dozen times faster than the power armor, so the hovering endurance would be an hour or less with rechargeables - Obviously insufficient to get ED-E from Adams AFB to anywhere near Navarro.. I suspect that it would not only take a nuclear power unit of some sort, but a high performance advanced nuclear power unit in quite small size to make an eyebot fly.


Recharging Bays: In the Fallout setting, Recharging Pods or Bays are sometimes used by robots which do not necessarily need them to charge their cells. For example, in Fallout 1, the Type II Mr.Handies which have internal nuclear power plants (one nuclear fuel refill lasts for like 2+ years), do use robot bays while they are idle - Perhaps it works in different direction if a bot is self-powered, maybe it can provide current into the base powergrid to help recharge/power something else on the grid. Not so much juice per bot, but once you have scores of nuclear power bots connected to the grid, they might be a significant factor together.. Mr.Handy Type II has 200kW power production per bot, multiply this by frex 50 and it totals up to 10 megawatts of power production (240 megawatt hours of energy per day into the powergrid, this adds up with more time).


Anyhow, an eyebot I suspect could get around with perhaps something like 15-20kW of nuclear power production depending on how it generates it's thrust and how much exactly it weighs (it's obviously made out of metal, metal is not very light). Easily electrically powered aerial propellers, rotors or ducted fans simply won't do in this case because those would have to be mounted outside of the eyebot sphere (or the eyebot would look like a donut with fans in the middle hole), and we can clearly see that eyebots do not have those. It must be something hidden inside with small vents and/or internal nozzles, in order to match what is actually seen in games and the FNV trailer. Cannot be a conventional jet engine either, because those use the $1400 per gallon fuel (even if their oil-rig was intact, which it isn't, the Enclave still could not afford this for all of their eyebots) and would not have better endurance than the rechargeables anyhow..


If it is not a nuclear air-ram rocket system of some sort (constantly sucks in air, heats and pressurizes the air with nuclear power and blasts it out from nozzles/vents in controlled fashion to provide thrust), I do admit that I am at a loss to find any even remotely plausible theoretical future tech option to fit the bill.


 



paragonskeep
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Just a wild theory. Fallout

Post by paragonskeep » Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:13 am

Just a wild theory. Fallout focuses more on Tesla than Edison. Maybe with some of Tesla's other theories they developed a type of magnetic propulsion to work in conjunction with the nuclear. The magnetics would be able to keep the Eyebot floating or hovering and the nuclear would provide the forward thrust as well as power the laser etc. 


If life is but a test, where's the damn answer key?!?!?

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Decker
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@paragonskeep: AFAIK, to make

Post by Decker » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:31 pm

@paragonskeep: AFAIK, to make magnetic levitation work, every area the eyebot floats over would need to have conductive rails, plates or wires installed on the ground - They'd just need to wire up the whole surface area of the North American continent to make this happen.. ;)


Mere natural Earth magnetic field would be way too weak to push against with power supplies and electromagnets that can fit inside a half meter sphere.. and if an eyebot could easily break the laws of physics with Star Wars repulsorlift-like levitation tech, surely everything from cars and motorbikes to hoverboards would also be using it in the pre-war society?


But yeah, maybe the Fallout devs just went 'Science!' and gave mass-produced pre-war flying radio speaker bots anti-gravity, while nothing else man-made uses such tech. However this does not seem likely, plausible or internally consistent IMHO.


@jlf65: Direction of all of those vents may not be quite that obvious - some of the lower vents might have internal unseen mechanisms which redirect via concealed pipes or hoses the airflow downwards. In fact, I would consider it likely that despite the external vent muzzle staying still on the airframe, internal parts may actively move into a different orientation to redirect the thrust into different direction as needed. This could allow the eyebot a high degree of control over it's flight.


 



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jlf65
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Meh - I'll just put it down

Post by jlf65 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:46 pm

Meh - I'll just put it down to nuclear heated air out vents that the artists just leave out for artistic purposes. laugh  They'd rather add more useless antennas that look cool rather than vents.


The easiest way to deal with back vents not being able to make a bot hover (seriously, that's literally impossible) is to say there's also vents on the FRONT that aren't operating while EDE is cruising down the highway, and not shown because the artists are artists, not engineers. To hover, it would use both back and front vents.



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