An Edible Drone for Humanitarian Aid

Ruben Baart
October 5th 2016

After selling his solar-powered drone company to Facebook in 2014, engineer and adventurer Nigel Gifford is now developing a new drone project with the aim to revolutionize the current humanitarian aid delivery market. His eco-friendly UAV called Pouncer will be relatively inexpensive, disposable and… edible!

According to Gifford, the current format for military aircraft droppings using parachutes is expensive and often wasteful. "At the moment, people in a disaster zone are issued with something called a humanitarian daily ration (HDR)" he said. "An HDR doesn’t recognize culture, religious beliefs, or diet - you get issued with a pack that has 2,200 calories in it, and that's it. Most of the time it's wasted".

The UAV is being developed to completely eliminate waste. Its wing structure will be made of (a yet undetermined) food. Its wings and body will be filled with vacuum-packed food packages and medical supplies, as needed depending on local dietary requirements. The shell of the drone will provide shelter on the ground and the lightweight wooden airframe can be broken down and used for cooking and heating, leaving almost nothing behind.

While the Pouncer is still in a concept phase, or Technology Readiness Level 4, Gifford expects the technology will be ready in less than 24 months. He also believes that the sky is the limit: "When people say, 'Well that can’t be done' - why not? And if you push and push, very often it’s because it has never been done, nobody’s thought about it. There’s no logical reason why it shouldn’t be tried".

Source: Business Insider

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