What material is being used to make drones for delivering disaster relief supplies?

Answer: cardboard

by / February 23, 2017

Imagine a cargo plane flying over a disaster zone carrying vital supplies for responders on the ground, and releasing the equipment in drones that were made of cardboard, equipped with GPS, and able to glide to within 50 feet of their target — and then disappear.

With funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), San Francisco-based company Otherlab! developed what one engineer described as “a pizza box that’s been shaped into a wing.” Called the Aerial Platform Supporting Autonomous Resupply Actions drone, or Apsara, the current model is made from corrugated cardboard designed to ship en masse to where it’s needed, then be folded like origami into a three-foot-wide glider by disaster response groups like Doctors without Borders and the Red Cross to get supplies exactly where they’re needed. 

The final version will be made from a mushroom-based material so it is completely biodegradable, and DARPA has another project in the works to create disappearing electronics so the helpful little drone can leave absolutely no trace.