From aerial surveillance to disaster relief, drone applications are plenty. But now, researchers are working on designing drones that can be operated both in the air and under water. Embedded Systems Research Laboratory at Oakland University has come up with a fully functional drone called Loon Copter, that can not only fly in the air like most drones do, but can also swim and navigate underwater. Their latest prototype is much more sophisticated, and its previous version was a semifinalist at the 2016 ‘Drones for Good’ competition.
Rutgers University’s ‘Naviator’ Gets US Navy’s Attention
A team of researchers at Rutgers University recently developed a drone they call ‘Naviator’. It can fly through the air just like any standard drone and then land on water. It can then submerge itself underwater and swim around like a mini submarine. It can even re-surface and fly up in the air again out of the water.
According to a report published by TechDigg, this project has been getting a lot of attention, including from the US Navy Research Office. If the rumors are true, they’ve even offered Rutgers as much as $600,000 for buying the rights to the Naviator. It goes without saying, a drone of this type that can easily fly and swim underwater is something of interest for the US Navy.
SwellPro, another company that manufactures waterproof drones, has come up with their latest product called the Spry. The Spry is a drone that can be operated in both air and water. The project has been developed under a partnership with Urban Drones and has even been listed on Kickstarter. The founder of SwellPro, Eric Hu, has worked in R&D for both waterproof cameras as well as remote control airplanes for quite some time.
The Market is Expanding at an Incredible Rate
Drones solve a number of challenging problems and can serve the needs of both commercial businesses and governments. Their real world applications include disaster relief, agriculture, deliveries, and much more. According to a study published by Goldman Sachs Research, drones have created a market that is estimated to be worth $100 billion by 2020.