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ARL wants soldiers to 3D print small drones – Defense Systems

by • February 18, 2016 • No Comments

Unmanned Systems
ARL wants soldiers to 3D print tiny dronesBy Mark PomerleauFeb 19, 2016The Army has utilized 3D printing to create parts and repair vehicles in the field, and actually explored the next to print out lightweight electronics.
Now researchers at the Army Research Lab are examining via 3D printing innovation to create on the fly – literally.
The plan is to integrate tiny unmanned aerial vehicles into the hands of soldiers created via 3D printing equipment. “We saw the trajectories of two beneficial innovation areas converging in the next,” said Eric Spero, an acting team lead in the ARL Vehicle Technology Directorate. “Our innovation is not of UASs. It is of the capability to create and create on-demand. The concept takes advantage of 3D printing as a next enabler and positions us, as the U.S. military, to take advantage of increasingly advantageous making technologies.”
Compact UASs create “on-demand” can be customized to donate specific donate classes.
“Compact UASs can in addition be utilized to investigate weapons of weight destruction at a safe stand-off distance, appearing beyond gaps, collecting forensic data, and breaching complicated obstacles such as those which need hover-flight capability,” Spero said in an Army release.
The software utilized to create these vehicles generates a computer-aided create version of a vehicle. Rapid making and so generates the UAS structure with off-the-shelf parts gathered of inventory and machined parts combined with electronic parts to create the full product.
Spero said which the solution is createed to be on the market at the battalion level – between 500 and 600 soldiers –and at a lower place.
Speaking to the flexibility, cost and availability such a capability may provide, Spero said “[s]mall components are procured and assembled into a vehicle. The vehicle is relatively effortless to repair or replace, or can be disposed of. The level of maintenance is driven by how long you want to a particular vehicle solution.”
Despite the ground-breaking capabilities this technological development can engender, reproducing military-grade products through 3D printing has been a challenge. Whilst products can appear – and actually feel – like the real thing, they aren’t. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has spearheaded an effort to examine this trend. The agency’s Open Manufacturing program can take a appear at the make-up and actuallytual reliability of 3-D printed objects.

About the Author

Mark Pomerleau is an editorial man with GCN and Defense Systems, covering defense IT, unmanned aerial systems and emerging technologies.
Prior to joining 1105 Media, Pomerleau worked for a member of the Virginia House of Delegates. He is a graduate of Westfield State University.
Click here for previous articles by Pomerleau, or connect with him on Twitter: @MpoM24.