A drone that dives under water
Photo Credits: ImperialCollegeLondon/Promo
In a few seconds, one device can transform from an underwater dive to an aircraft, and it can attach to any flat solid surface, giving it another method to travel.
At Imperial College London, a project has been created for a new type of drone, designed to move by water or air, with unique possibilities of "docking" on any solid surface. Such a device could be intended for rescuers or services searching for the injured, as it can be adapted to the conditions.
When flying in the air, the drone's propellers are completely disassembled, creating maximum buoyancy. This is not necessary for water, so the propellers fold very easily, ie shorten, which allows the same motors to "swim" underwater or on the surface.
In addition to the two modes of operation, water, and air, a special sticky surface has been added to the same drone, inspired by beautiful fish - namely, this surface can be accepted for any solid surface, wet or dry (such as those caught by sharks or whales). Thus, this drone can be "towed" to another water or land vehicle, while "resting", ie saving the battery.
The authors of this drone and the accompanying paper in the journal Science say that tests have shown that it can cross the barrier between water and air in just 0.35 seconds and transform from a submarine to an airborne drone.
This technology is still in the concept stage, but it shows that the future of autonomous aircraft or vessels may be common, ie that ordinary flying quadcopters, with a few modifications, can begin to perform their tasks in different environments.