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First Military ‘Ambulance Drone’

Israeli company Urban Aeronautics completed a test flight for a robotic flying vehicle, dubbed the Cormorant, that could one day go where helicopters can’t.

The autonomous vehicle is designed to eventually carry people or equipment without a human pilot on board. The Cormorant uses ducted fans rather than propellers or rotors to fly.

These fans are effectively shielded rotors, which means the aircraft doesn’t need to worry about bumping into a wall and damaging the rotors.

The vehicle is effectively a decision-making system that can figure out what to do if the inputs from the sensors are off in some way.

If the Cormorant detects a potential issue, the drone’s robotic brain can decide what to do: go home, land and wait for more instructions, or try a different flight path.

Further tests will look to improve how smoothly the aircraft goes from takeoff to level flight and to increase speed and manoeuvrability.

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