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Systems that can function in different environments – sea, ground and air – can have a wide range of applications. A new unmanned aerial vehicle developed by students is capable of remaining underwater for months. The UAV, called Gannet after a sea bird that pursues its prey underwater, has a separate propeller to move under water and also has navigational wings for the autonomous mode.

The vehicle, which weighs 2.6 kg, can go to a depth of up to 20 meters and can remain underwater. When required, it can be triggered to move. The UAV can fly for 14 to 20 minutes while it can be operated underwater for four to five hours. It does not require much power, according to

The system has been developed by students of Bengaluru’s MVIT Institute of Technology in India.

Among other features, the camera equipped Gannet has civilian applications in fisheries industries and pollution monitoring of rivers.

“We are the first in the country to do an underwater vehicle. We do not want to keep this as a project but want to commercialise the product. It may take about four months to make it market ready,” said Shiv Varun Singh Rajput, a third year mechanical engineering student of MVIT.

Another air-underwater drone was launched in the US in October 2018. The Spry, a waterproof drone, can submerge in water, float and fly in the air at over 69 km per hour. The drone, featuring a 4K camera that can capture video at 30 frames per second and take pictures at 12 megapixels, was developed by SwellPro and Splash Drone.