Most people don’t realize it, but there are drones flying all over America. They’re being used by the FBI, university researchers, photographers (NFL games especially), and even by private citizens. Whether you like it or not, this industry is going to be huge, too. Most experts, and men of common sense and foresight, agree that it will easily be a multibillion dollar a year industry.
Michael Toscano, the leader and organizer of the world’s biggest trade show for drones, explains how the industry works in an interview with 60 Minutes, “We have a saying that we build unmanned systems for the four Ds. That’s the dirty, dangerous, difficult and dull missions.”
“The manufacturing of these systems is a whole new industry. So these are new jobs that are being created. The big defense contractors are here, but so are the gadget guys and the software developers who write the code for piloting- or simply monitoring- unmanned aircraft from the ground.”
The latest company to join this new and emerging wave is Advanced Tactics Incorporated. Originally started in 2007, the company began working on its latest product, The Advanced Tactics Black Knight Transformer, way back in 2010. Not surprisingly, since its announcement, the company has been getting a ton of media attention.
The project has also gotten a lot of attention from the government, receiving funding from the United States Congress almost immediately. The main objective for this vehicle was always simple: execute missions to evacuate casualties from the battlefield and to deliver supplies.
Finally, after 4 years of research and development, the autonomous vehicle made its first successful trip earlier this month (see the video below). The flight test was performed at a private location in Southern California and was controlled entirely by autopilot. The only thing controlled by the remote-human pilot was its increases and decreases in power.
According to the official Advanced Tactics website, “The aircraft was stable, controllable, and performed as expected.”
The vehicle, like an electric multicopter, is controlled by differential thrust between opposing sets of prop-rotors. The company says, “The design is simple and robust, eliminating the mechanical complexity and cost of the articulated rotor system that stabilizes and controls a conventional helicopter and replacing it with a high-speed computerized feedback control system.”
In other words, it’s a vehicle that changes the name of the game when it comes to warfare ops. It could save hundreds, possibly thousands of lives, and it certainly helps to make the United States an even bigger force to be reckoned with.