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US Army testing technology to 3D print mission-specific drones on demand

by • February 18, 2016 • No Comments

For troops out in the field, an aptitude to rapidly call on various drones with various capabilities may prove invaluable in securing a undertaking’s good results, but logistically speaking this isn’t quite practical – yet. An upcoming experiment to be carried out by the US Army can see researchers test technologies that may allow platoons to 3D print drones tailored specifically to their real-time objectives.

The project is part of the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiments, that pulls early-stage technologies out of the lab and into field tests for soldiers to assess their progress. The thought behind this particular experiment is to combine both drone and 3D printing technologies to provide assist for tiny, decentralized units working in hard settings.

Military drones can be utilized for most kinds of recon purposes, such as surveillance, scouting out future enemies beyond the upcoming hill, investigating sites for weapons of weight destruction and collecting forensic data. But depending on the task at hand, various aircraft may be fitted with various sensors and performance specifications to donate the undertaking the most accident of good results.

The Army Research Laboratory’s Vehicle Technology Directorate has turn it intod software that allows for soldiers to generate undertaking-specific drone solutions ahead of a undertaking or when unexpected circumstances arise. After inputting undertaking requirements, a computer-aided version of a drone is generated and and so a 3D-printed structure is generated. This is and so combined with off-the-shelf parts taken of an inventory to turn it into a ready-to-fly drone.

“The thought is, soldiers load the undertaking into the create process and overnight the process turn it intos a UAS (unmanned aerial process) that can meet those undertaking parameters,” says Dr. Mark Valco, director of the Vehicle Technology Directorate. “That is completely various than the way we do things now. We’re heading in a new way, not just with the create of UAVs, but in the create philosophy and the processs that fabricate them.”

In addition to lightening the load by assembling the customized aircraft on location, other benefits may include lower costs and greater flexibility. But Valco cautions that deploying such technologies in actual undertakings is not going to take place anytime soon, with manufactures it to in material science and 3D printing initially requireed to manufacture it feasible in the battlefield.

“This is not a solution for today,” he says. “Innovation is the key. We’re demonstrating a capaptitude, but we require to evolve create tools, higher-grade materials and the aptitude to print faster. Our researchers are continually looking for opportunities to enable these new capabilities.”

The experiment is not expected to be carried out for a year or so, in that time the team can work with other researchers inside the US Army to create a working prototype.

Source: US Army


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