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article imageCould the Flying Car Become a Robotic Ambulance?

By Sheba     May 21, 2008 in Technology
Could flying cars become robotic ambulances? Israel seem to think so and America is not far behind. A group of Israeli technological firms are working on it.
Israel's Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies along with other local technological firms and arms-maker are working to build "MedUAV" which is a combination of ducted-fan flying drone and robotic ambulance. If successful this will be the first ever of its kind in the world. The Americans are planning on starting work on their own ambulance-in-the-sky next year.
Wired Blog Network reports:
According to Defense News' Barbara Opall-Rome, the Institute is hoping -- hoping -- to start test flights in 24 months. Eventually, the idea is to carry up to four passengers at speeds of 150 knots and heights of up to 10,000 feet.
The craft will be useful in operations where victims are hard to reach by other means, such as soldiers injured in battle. Six of the 119 soldiers killed in the Israeli Hezbollah war of last year may have been saved if they could have been reached sooner.
The Fisher Institute's concept is to put together a relatively simple UAV, or unmanned aerial vehicle, at first -- and then follow with something that can also drive around a battlefield, picking up the wounded. The flying car becomes a robotic ambulance, in other words.
Darpa, the U.S. military way-out research arm is looking at a similar concept car.
However, Technical challenges include "intelligent autonomous flight behavior, sensor integrated guidance and control to enable flight in complex terrain, fully autonomous selection...of suitable landing locations, dual mode (ground and flight) propulsion, collaboration/coordination with human combat medics and safe and rapid autonomous launch and return to advanced medical facilities."
As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. This looks pretty futuristic but it's about time don't you think?
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