Researchers from John Hopkins University (JHU) have designed an aerial drone that can lurk underwater for months at a time and then spring into flight.
The 3D-printed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is extremely light and capable of withstanding hundreds of feet of pressure underwater. On top of that, the design includes a sealed dry pressure vessel where the drone’s “most sensitive components” reside, which are sprayed with a protective coating to allow it to survive in harsh saltwater environments.
The researchers named this UAV prototype the Corrosion Resistant Aerial Covert Unmanned Nautical System (CRACUNS) – which rather conveniently doubles as a nod to the mythical sea monster, the Kraken.
“Engineers at APL [JHU’s Applied Physics Laboratory] have long worked on both Navy submarine systems and autonomous UAVs,” Jason Stipes, the project manager for CRACUNS, said in a statement. “In response to evolving sponsor challenges, we were inspired to develop a vehicle that could operate both underwater and in the air.”
Check out CRACUNS in action below.