I’ve written a lot about drones the past several years, and one of the many things I’ve thought about is the lingering concerns over durability. One bad maneuver can leave a drone stuck in a tree or pounded to pieces on the ground.
Because of that, many “best-of” drone lists brag about a particular model’s sturdiness or general strength. But a company called Otherlab has a different idea entirely – make it out of cardboard and let it rot when it reaches its destination. What in the world?
“It looks like a pizza box that’s been shaped into a wing,” Otherlab engineer Star Simpson told Wired magazine, describing the Aerial Platform Supporting Autonomous Resupply Actions drone, or Aspara for short.
What is this self-proclaimed “world’s most functional paper airplane” good for, anyway? A lot, as it turns out. Otherlab wants to be able use hundreds or even thousands of Asparas to deliver food and medicine in a humanitarian crisis or following an environmental disaster. An Otherlab spin-off called Everfly wants to supersize Aspara so it can carry as much as 22 lbs. of cargo, giving it even more lifesaving potential.
Here’s a concept video further explaining how it works:
What role, if any, would a biodegradable drone intended for a one-time flight have in the agriculture industry? That’s unclear for now, but it never hurts to peek in on how drones are being deployed in other sectors.