Recently a few of the folks over at Aerovel woke up in the wee hours of the morning, packed up their gear, hitched up their skiff to their truck and headed out for a nice day on the lake. For most of us, that would likely mean a bit of fishing or water skiing, but Aerovel had bigger plans. From their tiny boat, their Flexrotor UAV just outdid the most advanced drones in the world.
The Flexrotor UAV took off, landed, refueled and then took off once more — all on its own. In the air, the Flexrotor also transitioned from its vertical take-off orientation to a horizontal flight mode and back again. It even went so far as to take a couple surveillance photos of its own launch-boat while airborne.
Incidentally, the Flexrotor UAV didn't need to refuel quite as quickly as it did during the test. It can actually stay airborne for up to two days, covering a range of up to 1,865 miles while aloft. Whether you view this as an incredible step forward in unmanned flight or another nail in humanity's eventual coffin (oh crap, they can refuel now!), watching the process itself is pretty amazing. Thankfully, Aerovel has edited together the entire event for your viewing pleasure. They've even set it to The Blue Danube Waltz, the better to keep your mind off of that impending robopocalypse.