When one imagines flying machines that are autonomous, shapeshifting, and available in large numbers, one would instantly think it is fiction. Hey, is that not the plot of the last Transformers movie? I swear they made so many that I am not even sure.
In reality however, these autonomous, shapeshifting machines may soon dominate the skies soon. It is not fiction – it is more real than you may realize.
Instead of cars transforming into robots, these drones can change shape mid-air. While that does not sound as glamorous or futuristic, it is still a huge step up the standard drone.
The US Military is at the forefront of this new trend. While there are drones in the past that showed promise in shifting shapes, the target is still far ahead. The goal is to have a shapeshifting drone (in varying sizes) capable of doing deliveries and changing shape to accommodate potential obstacles. The goal is all these, plus an autonomous function, being able to do tasks without an operator standing by.
Issues with Shape Changing
The main issue with shapeshifting drones is still the same over the past decade. While it is very easy for a drone to change shape on the ground, doing it while flying and without stopping is a lot more complicated. This would mean that the drone’s structure could accommodate folding from different points. This factor often causes a decline in durability, as these folding points often come with more stress and deterioration.
Therefore, we look into the materials needed to make these malleable drones. Heavier material offers a lot more durability, but lighter items are better with moving parts.
What do you think? Will these Transformers-like drones see action in the future? Or is the technology still far too deep in the realm of fiction to be a possibility?