A new type of delivery drone will go the extra mile – or extra few meters, at least – to get deliveries to your door. Unlike other drones for whom the yard is good enough, the Panther small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) Air/Ground Robot from Advanced Tactics (AT) might land in the yard or street, but it won't stop there. With package in hand – or robotic claw – the drone can then drive up to your doorstep for true door-to-door deliveries.
Panther is a small unmanned aerial system that combines Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) with off-road driving capabilities. It can lift a payload up to 15 lb (6.8 kg), land a safe distance away from the recipient and then navigate on the ground over even rough terrain to deliver a package without its rotors turning. However, the drone will have propellor guards fitted for extra safety.
The drone can also be outfitted with cameras, robotic arms, speakers and other accessories like video screens and signature pads to customize the functionality, level of control and customer service that the operator has over a delivery. AT also envisions the driving capability to allow Panther to navigate beyond just the front door of a facility when needed, even working its way to a correct part of a warehouse if need be.
AT has developed a number of unmanned and robotic vehicles for the U.S. military, and Panther is essentially a miniature, unmanned version of the AT Black Knight Transformer, a wild VTOL craft that's a cross between a Jeep, a helicopter and a drone.
While Panther might make the most obvious sense for commercial uses, it's also being offered to the general public. AT claims it's as easy to fly as a quadcopter, with a control system that's run from a laptop that can also plan waypoint navigation for an autonomous flight.
Panther weighs 44 lb (20 kg) without a payload and measures 44 in (112 cm) long by 13.5 in (34 cm) tall. In flight, it has a wingspan of 43.2 in (109.7 cm) that retracts to 29 in (74 cm) in driving mode.
AT is taking orders for Panther at an introductory price of US$2,495 until April 5, or for the first 200 sold. A required ground and battery package is sold separately for $1,199. The company expects delivery of the drones to take place about 120 days after payment.
You can see how the AT Panther performs with a 15-lb (6.8-kg) payload and in windy conditions in the first video below, while the second video shows the first aerial package delivery test.
Product Page: Advanced Tactics