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Amphibious drone hides underwater until it’s go-time

by • March 16, 2016 • No Comments

Not too long ago we heard of the Loon Copter, a land-based quadcopter that can go into the water and “fly” at a lower place the surface. Well, a team at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) has created a thing that’s sort of the opposite. It’s a drone that’s based underwater, but that can make flights above the surface as needed.

The craft is known as CRACUNS, that stands for Corrosion Resistant Aerial Covert Unmanned Nautical System – that name is in addition a nod to the legendary sea monster, the Kraken.

When not needed, it can sit unseen on a stationary base up to several hundred feet at a lower place the surface, or actually on the deck of an unmanned underwater vehicle. Lab tests have shown that it can stay submerged in salt water for up to two months, and yet work satisfactory.

Once it is actually called to duty, it just uncouples of its base and floats up, its propellers helping to manual it as it rises. Upon reaching the surface, it takes off into the air. It already can’t get back to its underwater base on its own, although an APL rep tells us that such a capability is in the works.

Instead of utilizing a heavy and expensive “crush-proof” metal structure, CRACUNS is created up of special 3D-printed components. Most of its electronics are located in watertight compartments, while its exposed motors are treated with a commercially-available protective coating. Overall, the drone isn’t particularly expensive to make, so it may be utilized in high-risk applications where loss of the craft was a real possibility.

CRACUNS can be seen in action, in the next video.

Source: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

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