Naviator – Researchers at Rutgers created a new type of drone that can conquer both sea and sky
Researchers and students at Rutgers University have created a remote-controlled quadcopter – the Naviator – that can fly as well as it can swim. Behold the Naviator, a Navy-funded project that offers a new, exciting kind of drone. The Naviator needs no transformation as it goes from air into water and vice versa, and it does both without bias; it is equally adept at flying and swimming.
The Office of Naval Research has awarded Javier Diez, a professor at Rutgers University’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, a grant of $618,000 to build a drone that will be capable of transitioning from flying in the air to swimming underwater with ease – the Naviator.
This technology will assist the Navy with search and rescue missions, inspect bridge foundations, defusing underwater mines, and investigating spreading oil spills.
The R&D arm of the United States Navy said a drone such as the Naviator could aid in effective mapping of mines and also deployed in naval warfare by having a bunch of them hidden away in an underwater base or on a submarine, only to emerge from the depths to scout out enemy ships and then go back into hiding again.
“Mines are probably the biggest problem for the Navy,” said Javier Diez. “They need to map where mines are. Now there are a lot of false positives. This could be a better technology to rapidly investigate these potential threats.”
There are still few hurdles to overcome though. Those include scaling up to a size that can support relevant payloads like cameras and sensors. Another issue is that the limited by the ability to transmit the radio signal in the underwater environment, Naviator Drone has to be tethered at all times – even when it is in flight as it is expected to take the dive whenever required.