Drones are now everywhere--some fly great distances and others swim great depths. But have you ever heard of a drone that can do both?
Underwater drones have long been used since the 90s to track whales, observe ocean currents and underwater volcanoes. The US military even utilized it, of which they call gliders, to (as what its name says) glide through the water for long distances with the need of just little power. A particular glider even crossed the Atlantic in 2009 without needing to recharge.
Flying drones, on the other hand, are not much different. They were used to track wild animals and aid in military missions as well. Today, it's more popularly known as those flying machines that people use for their travelling (or even wedding) videos and photographs.
And just recently, the US navy is developing a combination of the two drones--one that could traverse both sea and air. They called it the Flying Sea Glider which builds on its existing Flimmer
A small scale version of this has actually been tested and was able to fly successfully. Its full-scale version, however, is scheduled to make its first flight in 2018. It will weigh around 30 kilograms and will be flying for more than 150 kilometers. After that, it is expected to take its landing on water and convert into a submarine.
“It’s an unceremonious splashdown,” says Dan Edwards at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. The team chose the pelican style dive (drone's landing style) as it was less damaging to the drone.
And mind you, this took more work than you think. Submarines have thick hulls that are watertight and they carry ballast to be buoyant while aircrafts have thinner walls and are filled with air. So, as you can see, it's very tricky making this new drone.
Talk about a whole new level of possible transportation! No more flying cars just flying submarines!