NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Rutgers University is working on the next generation of drones, including ones that can go in the water and even flap like a bird.
It’s not a small submarine, it’s an underwater drone called the Naviator. It can handle strong currents and deep depths.READ MORE: NYCFC Rallies Late, Stuns Philadelphia For Spot In MLS Cup Final
“It was the first of its kind,” Prof. Javier Diez said.
The prototype seamlessly transitions from air to water.
“Typically when you inspect a bridge have to put humans in water and there are very strong currents… it could save lives in future.”
It eliminates the need for a helicopter and a boat to perform the same task Prof. Diez says. He’s already gotten inquiries from search and rescue agencies, the Coast Guard, the oil and gas industry, and environmental groups.
In another Rutgers lab, Prof. Onur Bilgen is working on a flapping wing drone.READ MORE: Eagles Remain Undefeated In Their History Against Jets, Score On First 7 Possessions In Easy Win
“This is modeled after a Great Blue Heron,” Prof. Bilgen said.
He demonstrated how a traditional drone works to highlight the loud bee-like buzzing sounds, before comparing it to his drone which mimics nature and is much safer. It can also carry a heavier load.
“Flapping like a bird – because of the efficiency and simplicity of the flapping motion – we can actually fly like a bird and produce less noise and produce less disturbance to the environment,” Bilgen added.
The flapping drone can fly for much longer than traditional 30-minute helicopter drones.
Bilgen received a grant from NASA to research how to use the smart material used on his flapping wing drone on passenger airplanes.MORE NEWS: Connecticut Man Who Tested Positive For Omicron Variant Resting At Home With Mild Symptoms, Gov. Lamont Says
The new, synthetic smart material could one day make airplanes more fuel efficient and less noisy.