Malaysian researchers have found a way to turn the fiber in pineapple leaves into a material strong enough to make drone frames. Professor Mohamed Thariq Hameed Sultan of the University of Putra said Reuters that drones built with this material had a higher strength-to-weight ratio than frames made from synthetic fibers. They are also cheaper and lighter.
A damaged frame can be buried and the bio-composite material will degrade in two weeks, the researchers say. They say prototypes made from this material flew at around 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) and, like many other drones, they can stay in the air for about 20 minutes. Researchers aim to make larger drones that can carry larger payloads, such as imaging sensors for agricultural use.