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And they could change the way we bring aid to places in need.
Right now getting food to a disaster or conflict zone involves a military plane and parachutes. But one aerospace company wants to revolutionize how we deliver food to such zones. It's created an edible drone that can deliver a day's worth of food—plus the supplies to cook it.
Windhorse's Pouncer drones will carry pre-packaged food, but what's nifty about the small planes aren't what they carry—it's what they're made of. One fleet will be designed with vegetable spars, which are edible and can be added to the food supply, according to a video by the aerospace company. A second fleet will be constructed with wood beams that can be broken apart and used to build fires over which people could cook or heat their food.
Engineer Nigel Gifford told Business Insider that he got the idea for the edible drones when he was asked to create a miniature self-flying plane that could deliver food more efficiently.
"They were looking at conventional UAVs [unmanned air vehicles] and I said, 'well, why would you bring it back? Why don't you leave it there, and why don't you make it all out of food?'" he told the publication. "I keep getting trouble with my wife at home—when we go shopping in the delicatessen, I'm the one that's flexing the salamis to see what their tensile strength is because they'd make good spars," which are part of the drone's wing structure.
Beyond its foodie function, the Pouncer has some cool tech applications too. The drone's superior navigation system will help it steer to within 10 meters—or about 33 feet—of its destination. And the planes that will carry the drones can drop it up to 21 miles from that destination—much further away than they can drop parachutes—which makes it a safer food delivery system, too.
The drones will be available to government and nonprofit agencies. It's unclear whether it's for sale yet, but when they are each drone will be priced at 500 British pounds, or about $618.