Heli-truck hybrid takes to the air
A truck that flies like a helicopter called the Black Knight Transformer has been successfully tested in the California desert
This is a multicopter taking off for the first time.
The autonomous vehicle is designed to carry supplies into hostile environments – and evacuate injured soldiers from the battlefield.
It's called the Black Knight Transformer and was developed by aerospace company Advanced Tactics with funding from the U.S. military.
In this first test, the vehicle hovered 10 feet off the ground for a couple of minutes, but it is capable of flying at much higher altitudes while carrying payloads of more than 4000 pounds.
After landing, the UAV folds up its propellers and transforms into a supply truck, capable of navigating over rough terrain.
Advanced Tactics says that along with being able to complete missions in hard to reach places autonomously, the UAV will be modular, ensuring that it can be easily scaled to match mission parameters.
The transformer's drive train will also be detachable, allowing it to be replaced by an amphibious boat hull, making it suitable for missions on land – and at sea.