Oakland University’s Embedded Systems Research Laboratory has created a drone that can contribute more to society than ones that light up the sky or deliver weed. The Loon Copter is a triple threat, a drone capable of navigating air, land, and water, be it a surface-level or submerged activity.
The current model of the Loon Copter (the second to be designed following an initial prototype in 2014), has many of the same traits as your average quadcopter. The drone’s most distinction is its barrel-shaped body type. While other drones are capable of floating on water, the Loon Copter has the unique ability to fill its buoyancy chamber. This enables the drone to seamlessly sink to several meters below the surface. Once submerged at the desired depth, the Loon Copter is designed to tilt its body at a 90-degree angle, transforming its propellers into a means of propulsion through the water. Releasing the water in the drone’s chamber will then allow it to transition back to the surface and/or the air.
Like most drones, the Loon Copter can also record video of everything it sees. The only catch here is that it’s currently not capable of transmitting a live feed from underwater. Anything recorded below the surface can only be watched once the drone is retrieved. That one disadvantage, however, shouldn’t hinder the many practical uses that the Loon Copter can be deployed for.
The Loon Copter is currently one of 10 international semifinalists in the 2016 Drones for Good competition. The finals will take place on February 6 in Dubai, with the winner taking home a grand prize of $1 million.
Watch the video above to see Oakland University’s Loon Copter in action.[Oakland University]
Photo Credit: Oakland University