Engineering Headlines

Self-Manufacuring Drones using Chemo-Computing

A British company wants to breed almost drones like plants. The chemical process should practically by run off alone. The vision sounds incredible. Is one of the world’s biggest arms groups but from BAE Systems.

A greenish shimmer with something in a slimy liquid. It looks like a pickled Stingray. On closer inspection is striking: the thing has something like wings, tail, and a rectangular opening in the back. In circular aquariums around is equal to half a dozen of these strange creatures. We are here but in a James Bond movie, nor in a cheap horror flicks. Rather, the gloomy-looking scenario for those who have built it virtually is a wonderful vision.

BAE Systems
The “drone”embryo in the ChemPuter recive robotic arms. The chemical 3D printers will do the rest kind of alone.
Photo: BAE Systems

Aims to combat drones grow using chemical process, which begins at the molecular level and expires analog to the organic growth of a plant or an animal, but is purely artificial. The technology, which will allow it to is called “Chemputer”. With this “radical new engine”, aircraft of the future could be built in just a few weeks, and not years, believe the directors of this strange film.

Cooperation with Glasgow University

Behind the presented project is a BAE System, one of the world’s biggest arms groups, for example also on the Eurofighter is involved in and working for years on an autonomous war drone. One of the engineers there is Nick Colosimo, and he believes that “the military challenges of the future could handle this purely British technology”.

Photo: BAE Systems
BAE Systems
Photo: BAE Systems

The whole thing is purely British, because BAE works together with the University of Glasgow create complete solution. There’s also a roughly 30-Member group of researchers to Professor Lee Cronin at the Chemical Institute. Procedures that describe it as a non-organic biology products are their main goal: chemical processes, in which molecules themselves put together, and largely autonomously, without human intervention during the self construction.

Molecules from the 3D printer

Sounds irrational, nevertheless is real as a french fries. Especially since neither BAE nor Glasgow researchers dont want to betray here which substances should be used and what catalyst could drive this process forward. But Cronin is a still quite young, already award-winning chemist, has no lack of confidence. “I am optimistic that creative thinking and digital technologies cause at the end of that complex chemical and physical systems can be programmed digitally,” Cronin says.

Finished drones from the ChemPuter. Photo: BAE Systems

The previously known ideas of Professor seem however already almost conventional compared to this: he works with his group for several years now on a 3D bringing forth not objects, but molecules. So it should be possible to produce just by using fewer components, for example, medicines in the distant future.

Breed even electronics?

The “bred” combat drone will serve entirely different purposes. Using the Chemputers, not only mechanical components are going to be created, but perhaps even electronic components such as chips or battery packs. In this way, the process would drastically simplifies war material. A vision that can be found may also not so glorious.