Israeli start-up Urban Aeronautics is developing an unmanned flying ambulance, and an early demonstration video of the “AirMule” has already been featured on a number of popular tech news websites.
The video of the 20-foot by 6-foot, one ton remote-controlled hovercraft has been featured in Popular Mechanics and Gizmodo, which highlighted the ingenuity of the ducted fans powered by a Turbomeca Ariel jet engine that provide its power. Gizmodo said it was reminiscent of “Germany’s ‘flying Jeep’ concept from the 1950s.”
On Friday, Business Insider featured the Israeli-designed UAV pointing to the potential market for the novel contraption.
The prototype cost $2.5 million to build, and a second version will be ready in 2014. Dr. Rafi Yoeli, Urban Aeronautics CEO, said he hopes to release the first ambulance drone to the market before 2020.
Business Insider noted that it could also be a viable vehicle for military use: “A much quieter, remotely-piloted aircraft like this would be a game changer for military personnel.”
“Medical evacuations for wounded troops have greatly improved since the introduction of the helicopter, but pilots still must be weary of enemy fire. That won’t be the case with a pilot controlling the aircraft far from the danger,” Business Insider said.
The “AirMule” may also be used for delivering disaster relief, such as when the Israel Defense Forces sent a contingent to the Philippines last year in the wake of a devastating hurricane.