Loon Copter drone is equally agile in and out of water
Amphibious drones have been in the news lately and it isn’t surprising that people are going to have a liking for them. We have seen the Naviator and HexH2o prove that drones can be of good assist underwater for a variety of tasks including rescue and search operations. Oakland University Embedded Systems Research Laboratory is also heading in the right direction with their agile Loon Copter drone which is equally good in, on and out of water. The UAV looks like any other quadcopter but when it lands on water you realize it is much more than just a drone.
Loon Copter has a buoyancy chamber which keeps it afloat on water surface and when it is time for underwater exploration it dives 90 degrees to its side and uses the rotors for propulsion in any direction. Since, it uses forward thrust from its rotors, the drone is more maneuverable underwater. The project has been in the making for almost three years now and it is being bestowed with improvements every time the makers test it.
The buoyancy chambers provide the agility to float on water like a boat
The current prototype has an underwater range of few meters for now, but the researchers want to increase that in the next prototype. Ultimate motive of building this drone is to assist in search and rescue operations, bridge foundation inspections and marine life studies for the greater good.
The drone is able to dive underwater and swim on the surface of water thanks to its buoyancy chamber which can be filled with water or emptied for the required mode. Apparently the drone also made it to the semi-finals of the 2016 Drones for Good competition held in Dubai.