Drone That Knows How To Swim And Fly is Carrying Out Bridge Inspections

There are drones that fly. Then, there are drones that can swim. Now, we’ve finally got one that can do both during the same flight. A team led by Professor Javier Diez at Applied Fluids Lab at the Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, has recently developed Naviator. It is a drone that can become a submarine as well as fly in the air and is pretty good at doing both things well. This project was funded by the Office of Naval Research and was first introduced publicly as a prototype in 2015.

From the outlook, the drone is similar to a conventional quadcopter with four arms and a propeller on top and bottom of each arm; thereby meaning that it has a total of 8 propellers.

underwater drone

You can watch it in action in this video here:

Submersible drones have been around the news this year. For the professional consumers out there, PowerVision came up with their PowerRay Drone that can glide underneath the water’s surface. Other manufacturers such as Blueye with their Pioneer drone and OpenROV with their Trident are developing machines to cater for the requirements and preferences by scientists and commercial enterprises.

Having said that, none of the drones discussed above could fly along with swimming.

The Director of the project, Javier Diez said that despite the fact that the idea of a machine that could swim underneath water and fly in the air has been part of storybooks and novels from Jules Verne to Sci-Fi flicks such as G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra to Voyage to the bottom of the seas; yet developing such a contraption has not been an easy task.

The Naviator will help consumers in research, search and rescue missions and inspection of bridges, ships, ports, oil and gas operations. It has already been put to use for commercial purposes when it inspected an underwater bridge at the Delaware Memorial Bridge Twin Spans.

Drones are being used to carry out surveys and inspections. According to a research by Gartner, the industrial inspections in oil and gas, energy, infrastructure and transportation will encompass almost 30% of the commercial drone market in the next couple of years.

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