Technically, the Tactical Robotics AirMule is a drone ambulance. The Israeli company has shaken off some setbacks to demonstrate the capability of its single-engined, internal rotor drone.

That’s damn cool. Designed to airlift two people at a range of 31 miles, the AirMule is great for spots where it’s too dangerous for manned helicopters to land. A perfect example would be a battlefield. Hot LZ? Not for an autonomous drone.

The AirMule’s internal rotor also gives it distinct advantages in urban environments. It can fly through tight areas without the traditional worry of clipping a helicopter’s rotor against a building or other obstruction.

AirMule Specs and Future

With the VTOL test a success, Tactical Robotics can move on to bigger tests. 2016 promises to be a busy year for the company as it prepares to demonstrate cargo-carrying capabilities and perform beyond-line-of-sight testing.

AirMule ambulance drone VTOL test

For now, the AirMule can handle up to 450 kg of cargo for a range of 31 miles. Militaries have to be looking on with interest. Imagine deploying these not only as autonomous ambulances but as troop carriers. Boost the cargo capacity and it’s a futuristic troop platform.

Tactical Robotics isn’t the only company jumping on the people-carrying drone bandwagon. CES saw the computer-generated video of the Chinese Ehang 184 designed to carry one person for up to 23 minutes at speeds of 63 mph.

Hmm, I’m looking at my Phantom 3 and trying to imagine it flying me around for 23 minutes. Sounds cool in theory, but reality can suck when your drone GPS flips the hell out and flies off. Or it gets introduced to a pine tree. It’s one thing to replace $15 props. Different story when you figure out maybe not everything should have a touchscreen.

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