China is working on a submersible drone.
According to reports, a group of experts in northwest China built a prototype drone that has successfully functioned both in the air and underwater thanks to specialized electronics.
According to a story published Wednesday in Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, the project is being conducted by a group from Xidian University’s School of Mechano-electronic Engineering in Xi’an, Shaanxi province.
The team expects its hardware to be used in civilian rescue missions, but governments may be interested in developing comparable “transmedium” hardware to gain an advantage in future naval conflict, according to the article.
The bimonthly journal Flight Dynamics released a research report about the particularly developed drone. The magazine publishes a wide range of research on unmanned aerial vehicles, many of which have military implications.
During their 90-second experiments, the researchers were able to successfully fly the drone in and out of water seven times, according to the study. The prototype, which is just a proof of concept, has a maximum flying period of 20 minutes and can carry a payload of up to 500 grams (1 pound).
The researchers overcome hurdles such as huge changes in density while underwater while developing the hardware. The speed at which a drone’s rotors must spin to avoid being destroyed while underwater is determined by this.
The one designed in Xi’an included two types of blades, one of which generates propulsion by spinning 3,600 times per minute in water. The blades of a typical small commercial multirotor drone may turn between 4,000 and 6,000 times per minute, according to research.
“The cross-medium UAV is designed to increase the operating environment and application range of existing aircraft, and can make full advantage of stealth underwater and high maneuvrability in the air,” said Zhang Shuxin, the principal researcher.
Another issue, according to the paper, is the requirement for more communication equipment for usage underwater, where radio signals do not travel very far.
According to the report, Zhang and his team expect the transmedium drone technology to have a wide range of civilian applications, such as for lifeguards who might use it to transport equipment to drowning victims.
According to the newspaper, China is creating transmedium drones that will be launched from submarines for “airborne surveillance, communication, or attack.”
“Military scientists from China are also involved. This is a condensed version of the information.