The U.S. Office of Naval Research awarded Rutgers University in the U.S. a grant to develop a drone capable of flying through the air and navigating underwater for quick search-and-rescue operations, monitor the spread of oil spills and help the Navy rapidly defuse threats from underwater mines. The Rutgers University engineering researchers have developed and demonstrated it to Navy research officials earlier this year.
The innovation is defying nature rather than emulating it. The new vehicle could scan the water from above to locate missing swimmers and sailors, and upon spotting shipwreck debris could dip underwater to further examine the scene. At an oil spill site, it could map the spread of a spill and see how deep the plume reaches. It could also help engineers inspect underwater structures, such as bridge and dock piers, ship hulls and oil drilling platforms. The potential threats of underwater mines could be rapidly investigated.
During war, the drones could play hide and seek. When stationed out of sight in an underwater base, they could emerge quickly from the depths, get a quick glimpse of enemy ship deployments, and then hide again. Further improvements like acoustic control with sound pulses and outfitting with camera and sensors are on the card.
Source: Rutgers Today on YouTube