When it comes to handy features for UAVs, your mind probably doesn’t jump to towering, phallic protuberances and grabby arms for gingerly setting things down before darting away. Well DARPA’s does, which is why it funded and demonstrated this monstrosity.
The drone you see here is the MLB Company’s V-Bat and it’s designed specifically to go and carefully deliver payloads to very specific targets all without humans having to be there. While it’s hovering (phallic-ly) in the demonstration, it’s also capable of winged flight to get around a little faster. And even though its mechanical arm is hulking, it only deals with payloads of a pound or so, setting them down carefully and then skittering away in hover mode like a side-stepping rocket that had too much coffee.
Weirdness aside, the tests have shown that the V-Bat can do its job quite well, navigating to the spot, finding the placement zone, and dropping off it’s payload all without human help. It’s a bit big to go around surreptitiously dropping grenades in people’s pockets and skittering off, but this is only a preliminary test. The drones are coming to grab you, eventually. [DARPA via Engadget]