The US is investing heavily in unmanned technology. They’ve even gone as far as to say that AI is the future of warfare. Drones are getting the VIP treatment right now, with the US investing in improving them and also developing weapons to counter them as well. The latest in their endeavors is a drone that can move on the ground as well as fly.
The drone called Pegasus was unveiled back in September last year as part of Project Convergence. Project Convergence is a big exercise exploring future machines of war. The drone was able to move on the ground like a tank and fly through the air as well. Becoming the first land and sea unmanned autonomous vehicle. Having more means of travel, these drones would be able to reach places where regular drones could not.
According to Alberto Lacaze, president of Robotic Research, said that “These vehicles fit a new category of robotic systems. They aren’t quite ground vehicles, they’re not quite aerial vehicles—they’re somewhere in between”. By the way, Robotic Research is also the maker of the Pegasus drones.
The drones come in three different sizes, ranging from 4 to 38 pounds. They are all designed to fly as long as 30 minutes or move on the ground for several hours. While in the air, the tracks the drone uses to move on the ground are lifted at its sides as a kind of a guard. The three different sizes also differ in endurance as well.
The lightest model can only do 2 hours on the ground while the biggest model, the Pegasus III can travel for up to 8 hours in drive mode. Having a drone that can move on the ground as well as on the air has its drawbacks as well. The drive tracks mean more weight and more weight means less airtime.
It’s safe to say that these drones are somewhere in between land and air vehicles. The multi-modal design promises the ability to get above, around, under, and through obstacles. The drones are equipped with sensors that help with scouting and their information can even 3D map areas that the drone scouts. The drone is also able to work in areas without GPS because, in conflict zones, GPS is usually jammed.