Landspeeder UAV Completes First Lift Off

For everyone looking to go to Tosche station to pick up some power converters, your ride may be here sooner than you think. The Israeli aerospace company Urban Aeronautics has posted pics of its curiously landspeeder-like UAV, as well as news of the craft’s first successful lift off.

Now, before dreams of tagging womp rats overtake your feeble imagination, note that the craft, called an AirMule, only managed to get 2 feet off the ground. Still, considering the machine was only concept art in 2008, that’s pretty good.

Urban Aeronautics is developing the AirMule for the Israeli army, who want to use the UAV to transport supplies into, and wounded personnel out of, dangerous urban areas. VTOL engines allow the AirMule to navigate in and out of compact alleyways and refugee camp warrens, while the shielded rotor blades protect make the AirMule tougher than a regular helicopter. Plus, by removing the pilot, the AirMule can enter situations too risky for regular helicopters.

The AirMule still has a ways to go before it will it hits the front lines, but in the meanwhile, we can all keep wishing for a manned, commercial version to take us into the nearest wretched hive of scum and villainy.

[Urban Aeronautics, via Wired’s Danger Room and Aviation Week]