The pilots would be able to control the vehicles remotely using a smartphone or tablet. (Agencies)
Developed by US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the smartphone-piloted drones could transport cargo to and from the front lines of battle and deliver or pick up troops from out of the way areas.
"The drone aims to provide troops with more practical and accessible alternatives for helicopters, which remain in limited supply in the military," DARPA programme manager Ashish Bagai said in a statement.
"Our goal is to provide flexible, terrain-independent transportation that avoids ground-based threats, in turn supporting expedited, cost-effective operations and improving the likelihood of mission success," Bagai added.
The drones would be designed to take off and land vertically. The unmanned system will be able to take up to 1,360 kg of supplies.
According to DARPA, the cargo drones would be able to land in spaces half the size typically needed by similarly-sized helicopters.
The pilots would be able to control the vehicles remotely using a smartphone or tablet.