Drones are great for some kinds of deliveries, but operators usually want to recover their costly drone. For deliveries of medicine or supplies to remote areas, it may be more feasible to use cheap drones with a programmed one-way route. That's where ASPARA (Aerial Platform Supporting Autonomous Resupply Actions) comes in.
The drones were developed from DARPA's Vanishing Programmable Resources program (VAPR), which develops self-destructing electronics. ASPARA adds to that with inexpensive glider-type drones that can be launched from a ship or a plane and programmed to a course for a drop point. While variables like weather can make the landings less accurate than an RC drone, they have had success in tests with landing a small fleet of the cardboard drones in close proximity.
Via New Atlas:
Once the goods have arrived, the drones biodegrade in a matter of days. And because it is a glider without motors and rotors, it means that all of the onboard electronics, courtesy of DARPA's VAPR program, go with it. Otherlab isn't disclosing the cost of each drone, only saying that they are designed to be both expendable and biodegradable.
• Cardboard delivery drone has a one-way ticket (New Atlas via Otherlab)