Getting wet or worse, being completely submerged in the water, could be enough to spell doom for most drones.
Well, not the Loon Copter. Oakland University's Embedded Systems Research Laboratory has developed the third prototype of its Loon Copter, a multi-rotor drone capable of traditional flight, on-water surface floating and sub acquatic diving.
Seeing is believing and footage of the drone looks every bit like a conventional drone, except when it goes under water, using its four rotors to propel itself, while being submerged. That's possible because under the drone lies a cylinder, which controls the aircraft's buoyancy.
When the cylinder is full of air, the Loon Copter operates, able to fly, land, and float on the surface of water. Once submerged under water, the Loon Copter can take back to the air by pumping out all of the water it has stored in its cylinder. To see the Oakland University's drone seamlessly power out of the water and back into the air is truly remarkable.
If proven to be sustainable over time, the Loon Copter's design and technology could seemingly be licensed to drone and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) manufacturers to make a mass amount of consumer quadcopters able to be submerged in the water. The drone could also forseeably be used as part of rescue efforts, perhaps even by the military.
Oakland University says its Loon Copter is one of 10 international semifinalists in the 2016 Drones for Good competition, which was deluged with 1,017 entries from 165 countries. The grand prize for that competition, whose Finals will be held in Dubai from February 4-6, will be $1 million.