Since early 1900’s when the first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was introduced, the drone industry has continued to undergo numerous technological and certainly, this won’t be ending anytime soon. The Drone industry is one of the fastest growing technology-based industries worldwide. In fact, the number of industries employing the use of drones in some of their tasks keeps growing by the day and this number is set to grow even faster with the introduction of drones that can both fly and swim. Amazing right?
Introducing Aerial-Aquatic Drones: Drones That Fly and Swim
When thinking about these poly-capable drones, two drones come to mind, the Loon Copter and the Naviator. The Loon copter was developed by Oakland University’s Embedded Systems Research Laboratory while the Naviator was developed by a team at Rutgers University led by F. Javier Diez-Garias an associate professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and was the first hybrid aerial-aquatic drone.
These drones have the capability to go up in the sky (like an airplane) and then land and even head deep into the water (like a submarine) and come out again. The teams behind these drones are redefining the drone industry but expanding the capabilities that drones have. Instead of focusing on making ‘normal’ improvements on drones, like making them faster, have better cameras et cetera, they decided to add a new dimension to drones by literally taking the idea of a submarine and adding it into the drone making it able to fly and swim.
Applications Of Drones That Can Fly and Swim
Applications for these types of drones are numerous and can only be limited by imagination and creativity. Many industries are already seeing the promise in this new innovation including the US Navy who has invested heavily in this ongoing research to improve the Naviator to the point where it can be used in military missions. Some of the applications include the inspection of underwater structures such as bridges, the location of missing swimmers, sailors and ships.
These applications, of course, add onto the numerous promising applications that normal flying drones have. The Navy will probably be focusing on their biggest problem under waters which is the presence of mines underwater, and these drones can be used to locate them. This is probably the main reason they are interested in these projects. The drones can also be fixed with grabbers and sent into the waters to grab things for us. Basically, these drones can be fixed with any add-on and made to do most of the different tasks we can think about.
Some of the challenges to normal drones such as bad weather and inability to transverse the waters will by design have been solved. However, there are still major obstacles introduced in this innovation that need to be solved as well. For example, at this point, the Naviator has to be tethered using a wire to a controller given that typical radio signals can’t penetrate the water. In order to control the drone wirelessly, the team will need to employ the use of sound waves which transverse well in water.
In a nutshell, there is no doubt that the drone industry is one of the most exciting industries out there mainly because of the numerous applications of this technology across different industries including healthcare, engineering, geology and much more. One word can be used to describe the technology; it is a “revolution”.