Despite their relatively recent entry into the consumer market, drones have long since been present in the military sphere, carrying out missions remotely. The problem is that, while unmanned aerial vehicles and the like present a huge benefit in not endangering human pilots, building them requires a huge investment of time, money, and research.
Now, a team of scientists from Glasgow University believe they may have figured out a way to do away with some of that lengthy process. Working with arms manufacturer BAE Systems, the researchers want to cut down the years it takes to build drones (even with quickly 3D printed components) to just a few weeks, by growing the drones from scratch.
Though the details haven’t been provided, the process involves using a “Chemputer”, that can grow UAVs from a molecular level in giant factory vats.
Professor Lee Cronin, the founding scientific director of the research group working on the technology, said, “This is a very exciting time in the development of chemistry. We have been developing routes to digitize synthetic and materials chemistry and at some point in the future hope to assemble complex objects in a machine from the bottom up, or with minimal human assistance.”
Of course, the technology is still being developed but, if the concept video below is anything to go by, it’s still somewhat shiver-inducing. Not to mention the fact that the video looks like it as plucked straight out of one of XCOM’s cutscenes, it also inadvertently highlights the fact that a reduction in build cost and time might mean a more prolific involvement of drones in a lot of military operations. This is what progress looks like, and yes, it’s scary.