The US Army began researching how it could use the British-built hoverbike for purposes of autonomous delivery in battlefields. The idea was to prevent any unnecessary risks for humans, and send machines instead to soldiers who need supplies. This video from IDGWorldTechUpdate shows how the invention has been progressing. The footage was taken at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.
The drone is shown hovering in the air, both steadily and moving forwards and back. The Army currently sends supplies by land vehicles, which can be dangerous considering that these have to be manned by people, and have to pass through zones rife with gunfire, grenades, IEDs and so on.
If the project is successful, it would mean a big leap in conserving resources, not just in terms of human operatives, but also in energy and time. Ideally, supplies would reach soldiers easier and faster.
The drone, called the Joint Tactical Aerial Resupply Vehicle (JTARV) in military-speak, is equipped with four rotors, and can carry about 130 kilograms and fly at 60 miles per hour.
The US Army Research Laboratory and the US Marine Corps are developing the project in partnership with Malloy Aeronautics, the British company that originally came up with the idea of the drone as a hoverbike.
The scale model shown in the video was tested in January to Dr. William Roper, director of the Strategic Capabilities Office at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and will be followed by testing a full-sized model next.
Roper had already said that he wanted to make sure the US Military was looking into possibilities in the commercial sector that could be applies to their own tasks. Utilizing commercial technology would mean that the military can shorten the time it takes to develop new projects and cut down on the costs of research and experimenting.