Biodegradable Drones


Drones of the Future 


Most people usually consider drones as big military fighting machines. Up until recently, people started viewing drones in different ways. One of the hottest topics in the drone industry is drone delivery service. As the industry rises, it is expected to have many benefits. One of them is the lower fuel consumption which directly effects the lowering of greenhouse emissions.

 The benefits that come with the development of this industry will influence the future of our planet. However, this isn’t enough. Drone crashes are very common. Many times when they crash they leave a footprint. On the other hand, they cost a lot and use materials with a long biodegradable time.

When thinking of the footprint that drones can leave behind, and how much it would cost for the environment per unit of drone, it can be considered as pollution. Some companies, institutions, and individuals took this problem as their number one priority and found solutions to solve it.


Cardboard Drone


Cardboard Drone by Otherlab


APSARA is a drone developed by the company Otherlab as a single delivery vehicle for emergency scenarios. According to the company, they say that they were aiming to erase any trace of the drone after its mission is over. Because of that, they decided that the construction material is what they should be innovative in.

According to the drone designer Star Simpson, this drone is considered to be the world’s most functional paper airplane. The main material for this aircraft is cardboard, a cheap and lightweight material. As much as they were aiming to produce a drone that would disappear, they kept in mind its delivery capabilities.

APSARA is designing an idea that would be manufactured multiple times in order to affect the delivery of thousands of supplies during humanitarian crises. However, this drone has much more to be developed, but all is possible with a good goal in mind.


Fungus and Bacteria Drone


Biodegradable NASA Drone
Fungus and Bacteria Drone by CNASA/Ames


Another example of the biodegradable drone was recently designed by a scientist from NASA. Lynn Rothschild, together with students from Stanford, Brown, and Spelman designed a drone that dies after it flies.

According to her the idea for this drone, it is to disappear after it crashes. Its structure makes the drone degrade, simply by dumping it into a puddle or a steam.

This idea comes after many drones crashed into natural preservation areas. There are many examples of this kind. From drones crashed into trees, to crashes into the coral reefs or Yellowstone hot springs.

This drone is biodegradable because of the mushroom-based material shell. The body of the drone is made of mycelium. This is a fungal material that can grow in specific shapes, such as packaging and others. The shell is covered with a layer of ”Leather” sheets, grown by bacteria in the lab. Finally, as a top layer, the device is coated with a special biodegradable waterproof material.


Still Far to Go


Both of the above cases achieved some sort of biodegradable drones. But there are some parts that are not as fastly degrading as the cases of the drone. Researchers and scientists have much more to work on to make even less environmental poluting drones.

But at the end of the day, no one wants their drones to crash. But if they do, let’s aim to make them as degradable as possible.