This aerial drone doubles as a submersible underwater vehicleBy Shawn Knight
One of the inherent dangers of piloting an aerial drone is coming in contact with liquid, either in the form of precipitation or crash landing in a body of water. Don't believe me? Just check YouTube.
The obvious solution is to simply avoid flying your drone over water or while it's raining but what fun is that? Another option is to build a waterproof drone which is exactly what engineers at Oakland University's Embedded Systems Research Laboratory have done.
Their drone, dubbed the Loon Copter, looks no different than any other quadcopter... except for that odd cylinder below the rotors. When filled with air, the cylinder allows the drone to land on the surface of a body of water and move about freely.
The real fun happens when the cylindrical chamber is filled with water which causes the drone to sink below the surface for underwater mode. The design of the chamber forces the drone to tilt to 90 degrees while in water, making navigation incredibly easy. When the water is pushed out of the chamber, the drone floats back to the surface and is ready for liftoff.
Aside from being incredibly cool, its creators say the Loon Copter could be a valuable tool for search and rescue teams or underwater engineering inspectors.
If companies like Amazon, DHL and UPS truly intend to use drones to deliver packages, they'll no doubt need to look into waterproofing their drones to protect them against Mother Nature.