Future 3D printers may be much more advanced than we see today, but that hasn’t stopped engineers at BAE Systems from imagining what one could do with them.
Their idea, part of a series of future flight concepts, is to 3D print UAVs during missions. No, they’re serious, and it might actually be a good idea.
Imagine an aircraft arriving at a scene. It can then sense the situation and determine the best UAVs for immediate use. They may be for surveillance, retrieval, cargo delivery, rescue or even weapons delivery. The “mothership” would contain the advanced 3D printer and a set of digital 3D UAV models for every situation.
The video shows how the concept could work. They say:
The UAVs are best suited to each scenario -- be it a group of wide-winged aircraft for protracted or enduring surveillance -- or rotary-winged UAVs to rescue single civilians or soldiers from dangerous situations. After use the UAVs could render themselves useless through dissolving circuit boards or they might safely land in a recoverable position if re-use was required.
We are definitely a very long way to such a capability, but it does generate some thinking. What happens if you could make anything, wherever you may happen to be? How would you plan your trip / mission / vacation / activity differently?