The project, headed by Professor Mohamed Thariq Hameed Sultan at Malaysia’s Putra University, has been trying to find sustainable uses for pineapple waste generated by farmers in Hulu Langat, an area about 65 km (40 miles) from Kuala Lumpur.
Mohamed Thariq said drones made out of the bio-composite material had a higher strength-to-weight ratio than those made from synthetic fibers and were also cheaper, lighter, and easier to dispose of.
If the drone was damaged, the frame could be buried in the ground and would degrade within two weeks, he said.
The prototype drones have been able to fly to a height of about 1,000 meters (3,280 ft) and stay in the air for about 20 minutes, he added.
Ultimately, the research team hopes to create a larger drone to accommodate bigger payloads, including imagery sensors, for agricultural purposes and aerial inspections.
Before the project launched in 2017, pineapple stems were discarded after the once-in-a-year harvest period, but farmers hope the drone project will encourage more innovation to find uses for the waste and boost incomes.
According to The Dispatch