Here’s an interesting take on drones’ next phase of evolution: disposability. A company in San Francisco called OtherLab is testing a drone made primarily of cardboard and fungus. The end result would be that the drone would consume itself and disappear, leaving no trace of the drone. They are calling this concept the Vampire Drone and aims to be a staple for military drone usage.
This seems like a concept for a spy novel, I know. Disappearing tech come along spy gadgets like disappearing ink, mini radio transmitters, and invisibility cloaks. But, it might just arrive on the market faster than laser satellite pens will.
The goal of this concept is of course, for stealth usage. The drone must be able to deliver packages discreetly to its destination. Land vehicles may not easily reach the target location. Aerial vehicles may also give too much attention when it is not wanted. So, an autonomous, quiet, and small flying device may be preferred compared to the usual methods of delivery.
Vampire of the Night:
Delivering packages to hostile territories is not the end of it, however. The drone needs to disappear to remove any evidences that it has been there. Flying back to its base may not be feasible, and destroying it still leaves traces. If a drone is made of cardboard, and there’s fungus onboard, the fungus can eat up the material, leaving absolutely nothing for the wolves.
The Vampire Drone is made mostly of cardboard put together with packing tape. A rather primitive way of creating a drone, but that may actually be the point. Drones these days are made of metals and plastics. This means they would require a ton of effort to dispose completely. The Vampire Drone has a GPS function, autopilot, as well as a disposable battery.
The drone is however not perfect. You get what you pay for. It can only carry up to 1 kilogram of supplies. But what it lacks in carrying capacity it makes up for in distance and accuracy. The drone tested to fly up to 150 kilometers without the parts breaking down. The accuracy is also there, with the drone landing within 10 meters from its target destination.
The next step would be the introduction of mycelium. It is a mushroom-based product that can consume the cardboard within 5-6 days. That is where the vanishing trick happens.
With all these concepts combined, we now have a drone made of cheap and disposable items that can disappear without a trace. Welcome to the future of stealth.