Have you heard about the Urban Aeronautics AirMule, the Humvee-sized drone that can haul up to 1,100 lbs. for as far as 30 miles?
Because we certainly have.
In fact, we’re bombarded everyday with questions from existing and potential users asking about our relationship with this similarly-named, futuristic product taken straight from an episode of The Jetsons. And to finally answer those questions: No, we have no affiliation with the company manufacturing these flying cars, but the AirMule is pretty damn cool, and we’re excited about what it means for the transportation industry.
About The AirMule
The Israeli company that manufactures the AirMule, Urban Aeronautics LTD., specializes in vertical take-off and landing vehicles for “complex urban and natural environments.” They first developed the concept for the AirMule back in 2004, but the version we know today made it’s first unmanned flight back on December, 30 2015. The flight lasted for only two and a half minutes, but the AirMule claims a ceiling of 18,000 feet and an ability to cruise at more than 110 mph. It’s also able to fly between buildings (what?!) and handle winds at speeds of 50 knots.
The manufacturers say that the AirMule can be used for both civil and military purposes, but the UrbanAero subsidiary that makes it is called Tactical Robotics, a branch dedicated to aircraft “for use predominantly in the unmanned military and homeland security markets.” It’s vertical take-off and landing capabilities provide the un-matched utility of a helicopter, but the AirMule offers many advantages over traditional rotors. Using a patented design that UrbanAero calls “Fancraft”, the integrated fan system allows it operate half as loudly as a conventional copter and since the rotors are enclosed, they’re harder to pick up Doppler signals. Meaning we’re very close to having a mass produced, incredibly precise, durable and quiet machine that can haul large cargo over long distances. Hey AirMule, stealth much?
Of course, this advanced level of sneaky sneakiness means it’s subject to even more scrutiny from regulatory security bodies around the globe. Due it being able to deliver an 1,100 lb. payload, it’s actually subject to the Missile Technology Control Regime, an association meant to make it more difficult for bad guys to get weapons of mass destruction or vehicles capable of carrying them.
But it’s not all scary evil-doers and huge missiles. UrbanAero also has a civilian-focused branch called Metro Skyways, and they’re focusing primarily on aircraft “in the manned civil Air-Taxi as well as Air-Rescue and MedEvac markets.”
Mr. Spacely would be so proud.