Many people debate which body shape is the best for a robot, and the issue is even more contentious when it comes to flying robots. For a start, flying is very energy-intensive, and many commercially-available drones can only manage 20 minutes of flight time on battery power.
Driving on wheels is more energy-efficient than flying is, but this means that the robot is restricted to the ground, rather than having the ability to go wherever flight would allow it to.
This conundrum is about to be put to rest, however, thanks to a company called Advanced Tactics. Their Panther drone combines driving and flying ability into one highly capable drone package.
What’s more is that this drone isn’t just some novelty thing – it can fly in high winds while carrying a 15-pound load. Advanced Tactics say that the drone is ideal for inspecting pipelines, and it can also land on the ground to conduct field work without any difficulty. It can travel on the ground for up to 60 miles at a time.
While the Panther prototype debuted back in 2012, Advanced Tactics recently released the first video of what will become the commercially-available version. The video was apparently released as part of a pre-sale promotion.
The Panther represents an interesting and novel drone design in itself, but it’s also used as a test-bed for a vehicle that’s a cross between a helicopter, a truck and a drone called the Black Knight Transformer, which will be capable of carrying people in it if and when fully developed. In fact, it was floated as a possible medical evacuation vehicle for the military.
For now, the company seems to be focusing on the Panther, but if the little drone does well, the Black Knight Transformer might go on sale someday too.
Watch the Panther in action here:
Content and Image Source: PopSci