In general, aerial vehicles do not operate underwater. Sure, plenty of planes can land on water, or even on large ships in the ocean, but they usually don’t fare so well underwater. Apparently, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory wasn’t cool with that, so they made a drone that can be launched underwater.
It’s called the CRACUNS, short for Corrosion Resistant Aerial Covert Unmanned Nautical System. We’ve had autonomous underwater vehicles for a while, but the APL team wanted a vehicle that could bridge the gap between stealthy underwater drones and the reach and reconnaissance of an unmanned aerial vehicle.
The CRACUNS can be deployed under water by a manned or unmanned vehicle, float to the surface, and take off like a normal quadcopter. It’s cheap, lightweight, and submersible, with a pressure vessel for storing important equipment. The team designed it specifically for use in salt water — submerging coated engine parts in corrosive water for over two months with no harm to the device.
There are loads of possible applications for the device, even beyond its military roles in surveillance and scouting. Arctic researchers are increasingly using drones for monitoring their environment, and having a water-proof UAV would undoubtedly come in handy.
Watch the full video below: