Biodegradable UAS for Humanitarian Aid Missions
Otherlab, a San Francisco-based research group and start-up business incubator, has developed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV constructed of flexible, cellulose-based material that will degrade and effectively disappear after completing its mission.
The aircraft, which will land within a 10m radius of a pre-programmed GPS location, has been designed specifically for the delivery of medical supplies, organs or blood to inaccessible areas during emergency, disaster relief or humanitarian operations. Other methods of delivery by air are often expensive, difficult and have the potential for adverse environmental impact if conventional drones are unrecoverable.
The development, according to the company, came in response to DARPA’s Inbound, Controlled, Air-Releasable, Unrecoverable Systems (ICARUS) programme. The current Otherlab UAV contains low-cost COTS electronics, but DARPA has a separate programme aimed at the development of soluble electronics.