Israel’s “flying car” passenger drone is closer to delivery

After 15 years of development, an Israeli tech firm is positive that it will finally get its 1,500 kg (1.5 tonne) passenger carrying drone off the ground and into the market by 2020.
The Cormorant, billed as a flying car, is capable of transporting 500kg (around half a tonne) of weight and travelling at 185 km (115 miles) per hour. It finished its first automated single flight over terrain in last month. Its total price is estimated at USD14 million.
Developers Urban Aeronautics consider the dark green drone, which uses internal rotors rather than helicopter propellers, could empty people from hostile environments and/or allow military forces safe access.
“Just imagine a dirty bomb in a city and chemical substance of something else and this vehicle can come in robotically, remotely piloted, come into a street and decontaminate an area,” Urban Aeronautics founder and CEO Rafi Yoeli informed Reuters.
Yoeli set up the company, based in a large hanger in Yavne, central Israel, in 2001 to create the drone, which he explains, is safer than a helicopter as it can fly in between buildings and down power lines without the risk of blade strikes.
There is still plenty of work required before the autonomous vehicle hits the market.
The Cormorant, about the size of a family car and formerly called the ‘Air Mule’, is yet to meet all Federal Aviation Administration standards and a test in November saw small issues with conflicting data sent by on board sensors.
With 39 patents registered to create the vehicle, Yoeli has slight concern about competitors usurping him. One industry experts told the technology could save lives.
“It could revolutionise several aspects of warfare, including medical evacuation of soldiers on the battlefield,” asserts Tal Inbar, head of the UAV research centre at Israel’s Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies.

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