Tactical Robotics’ Cormorant drone is a remotely controlled/automated flying ambulance and the company has just successfully carried out its very first simulated rescue.
It’s powered using two central fans on the bottom which give it lift, while two rear-facing fans give it lateral control in the air.
Initially designed for rescuing soldiers on the battlefield, this small drone can carry two patients at high speed over a distance of around 20-miles.
Now that might not sound far, but for combat situations that could be as far as the nearest field hospital or for inner cities that could mean the nearest A&E.
The drone can either be piloted remotely or set to an automated mode where it will fly to a pre-determined destination and then return with the patients.
What makes the Cormorant so useful however is both its size and speed. It’s smaller than a helicopter and considerably faster than a land-based ambulance being able to travel up to speeds of 100mph.
Tactical Robotics also claims that the Cormorant is more resilient to high winds than most helicopters and thanks to its Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) propulsion system it creates less of a heat signature than most conventional aircraft.
The Cormorant has clearly been designed as a military-first aircraft but the possibilities for civilian use are substantial. Imagine a 24/7 air ambulance service that doesn’t require pilots and could land right in the street.
While it’s unlikely that you’ll be seeing one of these flying overhead in the next 2-3 years a new report by accountancy giant PWC has claimed that there could be as many as 76,000 drones in British skies by the end of the next decade.
With firms like Uber and Airbus now fully pressing ahead with their flying taxi programs the idea of an automated flying ambulance drone being introduced in the UK isn’t as far fetched as you might think.