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Hybrid drones, capable of both swimming underwater and flying in the air, are becoming a thing of the near future. Researchers at the Imperial College London’s Aerial Robotics Lab have succeeded in developing a concept for a drone capable of swimming and gliding, similar to flying fish.
The AquaMAV drone utilizes combustible powder and the water it floats in order to propel itself. The drone creates acetylene gas by mixing calcium carbide powder with water. The gas is then funneled into a combustion chamber where it is ignited alongside water and air. Once ignited, the water is blasted out of the combustion chamber allowing the drone to propel itself out of the water and glide. The drone is capable of gliding up to 26 meters in the air.
The AquaMAV has some possible military applications. Potentially, the drone could pave the way for a novel form swarm attack, where drones fitted with explosive warheads could sneak the water and propel themselves to attack coastal targets.
Engadget.com mentions that the AquaMAV can also be used for collecting water samples in floods and dangerous waters.