If you teach a drone to fish like a bird and then it falls into the ocean, does it make a sound?
Thankfully, that wasn’t the big-picture question that Imperial College London researchers set out to answer when they designed this winged drone that dives into the ocean like a gannet and then launches back out of the water like a flying fish.
Dubbed the AquaMAV, the prototype robot is designed to be able to collect underwater samples in areas where it would be unsafe for manned vessels to travel. It's able to emerge from beneath the water at speeds of up to 30 MPH and return to base even in extreme weather conditions.
Weighing less than a half pound, the ICL researchers feel the AquaMAV is a real breakthrough.
“We believe we may have overcome the power density problem which makes launching out of the water so challenging for small drones,” said ICL researcher Rob Siddall. “Nature often has an elegant way of solving engineering challenges.”
Sure looks that way to us.