More and more people are becoming obsessed by drones, and they have every right to be. Take the Loon Copter drone for example. This new toy was made by some brilliant minds from Oakland University and it’s a drone that can fly, float on the water surface to see what’s down there, and dive in as well. Now, this isn’t the first underwater drone but it’s special because it’s equally efficient both in the air and under water.
The Loon Copter is a multi-rotor platform vehicle that has just won the Dubai UAE Drones for Good Award. The competition received over a thousand entries from 165 countries. The secret to this drone’s success is, without a doubt, its capability of traditional aerial flight, on-water surface operation and underwater diving. The potential of this drone is huge regardless of the fact that batteries wouldn’t last too much on it the way things are right now.
The Loon Copter is an award-winning multi-rotor platform that can fly, float and dive under water
It works almost like any other flying drone when it’s airborne. As for the on-water operation, that’s regulated by the buoyancy chamber that keeps the drone floating on the surface. When you want to dive in deep, the buoyancy chamber gets filled up with water so that the drone can sink beneath the water surface. When it’s down there, the drone tilts 90 degrees so it can move around using its rotors.
When it’s airborne, it works like any other quadcopter but it has a buoyancy chamber that allows it to float on the surface of the water
But this is not the end of the presentation. Besides the air, on surface and underwater maneuvers, the Loon Copter can resurface again and get airborne. What it does is it ejects the ballast water from the chamber and it can go up again. There’s still room for improvement and the developing team from Oakland University says that they’ll be working on extending wireless range underwater, improving underwater navigation and redesigning the hull for more efficient diving. The possible uses for the drone are also unlimited and can include reconnaissance, search and rescue missions, and even preventing shark attacks. watch video below
The Loon Copter fills the buoyancy chamber with water in order to dive down and empties it to go right back up
A team from Oakland University in California developed the Loon Copter, by far the most futuristic of this group of underwater drones. It’s the Navy SEAL (SEa, Air, Land) of drones: an aerial drone capable of diving and swimming. The design closely resembles a traditional airborne drone, with four propellers giving it lift and helping it take off, fly and hover. But submerse it in water, and something crazy happens: it turns on its side and uses the propellers to start maneuvering underwater. The Loon Copter is the one-stop-shop drone that allows you to capture above-water footage of hikes or boat trips and then transition, within a single film, to underwater footage.
It is untethered, but does need a pilot. This does limit range, particularly underwater. The third version of the prototype won the Drones for Good exhibition in Dubai in 2016, but there’s no news yet of when, or if, there will be a commercially available version.
Maximum depth: Unknown
Autonomous: No, but untethered
Camera: Yes, but specs are unknown
More information here