Wasp drones, octopus drones and Orca drones

Experts at Imperial College London, inspired by wasps and bees, have constructed flying robot-drones that can create 3D structures during flight using embedded printers. The drones operate autonomously as part of teams and build lightweight concrete structures while exercising quality control. Their use on construction sites will reduce carbon footprint, ease logistical issues and improve work safety, especially in difficult-to-reach terrain.

A study by researchers at the University of Minnesota has shown that octopuses use specific tactics depending on the prey they hunt. Their hunting skills are being used to develop next-generation robots . During the study, octopuses, for example, threw themselves at crabs by mimicking cat-like movements, and while hunting shrimps they were careful not to frighten their prey. Octopus-inspired underwater vehicles could play a key role in the exploration of the ocean depths. The work is being funded by the US Office of Naval Research to maintain “future sea power and preserve national security”.

According to auditors in the US Congress, Orca, the US Navy’s mine-laying drone, is at least three years late and 64% over the original budget. The Orca drone, the size of a metro carriage, weighs 70t. Before starting the project, the United States Navy did not make sure whether its contractor, the Boeing Company, had the skills needed to build such a machine.

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