A “flying car” being developed by an Israeli firm successfully completed its first trip over terrain this past November, Reuters reported Tuesday.
Urban Aeronautics, based in Yavne in central Israel, hopes to bring the Cormorant into the market by 2020. Formerly known as Air Mule, the drone is about the size of a family car and can be operated remotely.
The Cormorant is designed to fly in urban environments, featuring internal rotors rather than external propellers. This allows it to more easily navigate between buildings and utility wires. Weighing 3,300 pounds, the Cormorant can travel up to 115 miles per hour and carry a payload of up to 1,100 pounds.
Urban Aeronautics believes that the drone could be used to evacuate casualties from hostile environments and help emergency responders quickly deliver aid to isolated populations.
“Just imagine a dirty bomb in a city and chemical substance of something else and this vehicle can come in robotically, remotely piloted, come into a street and decontaminate an area,” Urban Aeronautics founder and CEO Rafi Yoeli told Reuters.
While the Cormorant has yet meet all Federal Aviation Administration standards, Yoeli has already registered 39 patents to create the vehicle and is not concerned that a competitor could overtake him.
Tal Inbar, head of the UAV research center at Israel’s Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, indicated that the Cormorant “could revolutionize several aspects of warfare, including medical evacuation of soldiers on the battlefield.”
A video from five years ago shows an earlier version of the Cormorant–then called Air Mule–hovering above ground.
[Photo: UrbanAero / YouTube ]