Check the date, check it twice… Nope, okay. It’s definitely not April Fools’ Day. Instead, this is an idea plucked straight out of some weird fantastical future.
BAE Systems, a UK-based defense company, has unveiled plans to “grow” drones for warfare in a chemical process. Details are few and far between, but in a statement, the company said this relies on a machine called the "Chemputer".
This would involve making parts from the molecular level, rather than physically making parts like a regular 3D-printer, with shape-shifting chemicals. The statement goes on to add that this will be done via "speeding up evolutionary processes", whatever that means. But the company says this would enable aircraft to be built in weeks, rather than the years of construction it takes at the moment.
In a somewhat futuristic video, BAE seems to envisage using large vats in which autonomous drones could be grown via this process. Other parts for large manned aircraft could apparently be produced in this manner.
"The world of military and civil aircraft is constantly evolving and it's been exciting to work with scientists and engineers outside BAE Systems and to consider how some unique British technologies could tackle the military threats of the future," said Professor Nick Colosimo, a BAE Systems Global Engineering Fellow, in the statement.
It certainly sounds rather, uh, fantastic. But as Mashable points out, BAE has precedent for carrying out some of its bold ideas, such as the heads-up display (HUD) used by military pilots.
Nonetheless, this latest idea certainly seems to be pushing into the realms of science fiction. But who knows, maybe drones of the future will indeed be grown in giant futuristic vats of goo. Just don’t come complaining to us when the robot uprising begins.