This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.
A revolutionary drone aircraft, big enough to carry people, could be whizzing through the skies within a few years, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
Manufacturers of the Cormorant, formerly known as the AirMule, hope to see what has been dubbed a “flying car” on the aviation market by 2020.
The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been in development for 15 years by Yavneh, Israel-based Urban Aeronautics, which envisions it being used as an air ambulance for tricky rescue missions in tight urban environments or for moving troops around the battlefield.
Weighing in at 1.5 tons, the drone can carry a payload of up to 500 kg (1,100 pounds), uses internal rotors to keep itself aloft and can zoom along at 185 kilometers an hour (115 miles per hour). It can be remotely piloted or set to fly autonomously.
A first solo flight was made in November 2016 and, despite some minor glitches, the company considered the sortie a success. It is now aiming to see the Cormorant meet safety and other standards of the US Federal Aviation Administration, an achievement that would open up global markets for the vehicle.
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