Growing drones out of chemical baths? Scientists begin work to turn concept into reality

Posted at 8:26 AM, Jul 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-05 09:55:13-04

In the future, aircrafts may be grown instead of built.

While it may seem like something out of a science fiction movie, scientists are now working to make it happen.

BAE Systems and the University of Glasgow have developed this concept of growing drones out of chemicals in large-scale labs.

According to a news release, the system would use a new machine called a "chemputer" to create on-demand unmanned vehicles. This chemputer would —in theory—activate advanced chemical processes to construct the aircraft molecule by molecule.

The concept would help military leaders deploy drones in a short amount of time, helping with impromptu emergency missions.

BAE Systems says in a statement this technique would be able to create these made-to-order aircrafts in a matter of weeks rather than years.

When do they think "growing" drones could be possible? Researchers say within this century.

"This is a very exciting time in the development of chemistry. We have been developing routes to digitize synthetic and materials chemistry and at some point in the future hope to assemble complex objects in a machine from the bottom up, or with minimal human assistance. Creating small aircraft would be very challenging but I’m confident that creative thinking and convergent digital technologies will eventually lead to the digital programming of complex chemical and material systems," said Glasgow professor Lee Cronin in a statement.