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Old 09-05-2007, 11:56 PM
Location: Tennessee/Michigan
28,227 posts, read 47,651,331 times
Reputation: 19735


U.S. troops are pinned down in a crowded city center. Several are wounded and need immediate evacuation. There are miles of labyrinthine roads and thousands of enemy gunmen between them and the nearest base. The threat from rocket-propelled grenades has grounded the big helicopters.

There's one, final hope for these soldiers: the Mule, a compact, fully autonomous medevac aircraft powered by ducted fans—fully enclosed spinning blades that are smaller and more efficient than conventional helicopter rotors. This concept, created by Israel-based Urban Aeronautics, could revolutionize military and civilian emergency care. Within minutes of troops radioing in their GPS coordinates, two drones dart in at 100 mph and land neatly on a narrow rooftop. The casualties are loaded into pods on the UAV's sides—each vehicle can carry two patients—and the fore-and-aft lift fans speed up for vertical takeoff.

Once airborne, a medic's voice, piped in by radio, comforts the wounded soldiers, distracting them from the gunfire outside and the disconcerting notion that their rescuers are robots.

Autonomous Flying Ambulances Could Save Troops - Popular Science
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