Researchers from Imperial College London developed a drone that dives like a gannet and leaps out of the water like a flying fish. The surprising unmanned vehicle was built to collect samples from oceans, reservoirs and places unreachable by people #actionmagic
AquaMAV was designed after gannets’ strategy of hunting fish – diving into the sea at up to 60mph. On the other hand, flying fish’s ability to jump out of the water and soar thanks to wing-inspired fins was a reference for the AquaMAV return with samples. The final design was a spear-shaped drone with an internal reserve of carbon dioxide that helps it leap in the air. Then, its retractable wings help it glide with the collected samples.
Imperial College London’s drone doesn’t weigh more than 200 grams and has a current speed of 30 mph. It can cover distances of five kilometers, replacing successfully humans for collecting samples. Researchers believe their drone is faster, more efficient and more cost effective than other drone-enabled collecting services. The lunge diving approach reduces the need for precise control and more hardware, they claim.
Now, researchers are working on an extra propulsion system that can make AquaMAV submersible during a longer period of time. This drone could be an important agent in monitoring water quality and measuring fluctuations in ocean salinity.