The United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is characterized by carrying out some of the most interesting projects in terms of technology. Among its developments we have found autonomous robotic boats, brain implants, and even modular chips that seek to revolutionize these components.
But today DARPA is showing a development that many thought at the beginning that it was a joke, since it is a drone made of cardboard, with which they look for to have a tool to send merchandise or materials in one sense in zones of High irrigation or limited access.
The project is known as ‘Sky Machine’ and is being developed by Otherlab with collaboration and funding from DARPA. As we have seen, this is a small autonomous aircraft made of cardboard, which has components inside that allow it to be programmed to fly and land in a specific area.
The components are part of DARPA’s VAPR (Vanishing Programmable Resources) program, which is an effort to create self-destruct electronics, which will prevent this type of technology from falling into the wrong hands, thus stopping industrial and military espionage.
Thanks to their small size, hundreds of these drones can be deployed from a high-altitude cargo plane, fly at a speed of up to 88 kilometers per hour, spin and locate the landing zone, to finally reach their destination with a few Meters difference. The Sky Machine has capacity to carry materials up to one kilogram, but the idea is to extend this up to 10 kilos.
Thanks to these characteristics, blood samples, vaccines, or drugs can be sent to areas of difficult access, or where there is a danger of human force deployment. In addition, thanks to its components and manufacturing materials, the drone will biodegrade in just a couple of days, so only serve a single occasion to later self-destruct.
In the first tests they have been able to deploy this drone to a height of 304 meters, managing to overcome obstacles in the zone to finally land a little distance of the assigned place. The agency is not specifying the cost of making each drone, or technical aspects of what is inside the aircraft, but are convinced that we can see them in action later this year.