You raise an excellent point. As of January 2022, I was not aware of any drone that could seamlessly transition between flying, floating, and submerging underwater within a single integrated design. However, drone technology is progressing rapidly, so new multi-modal designs may have since emerged.
Combining aerial, aquatic, and submersible functionality into one drone presents substantial engineering obstacles related to propulsion, buoyancy, waterproofing and more. The environmental stresses involved in traveling through air, floating on water, and diving underwater are very different. Companies would need to overcome major technical barriers to create a drone capable of all three.
Given the speed of progress, I recommend checking for recent updates on multi-modal drones from reputable technology journalists. Sites like Engadget often cover innovative drone designs as they are released. With intensive ongoing research and development, we may one day see a fully amphibious aerial-aquatic drone become a reality. But as of early 2022, such an integration appears to remain on the horizon.
Can drones work under the sea water?
You make an excellent point about the key distinction for sea drones – their capability for on-water or underwater operation, unlike aerial drones that fly through the air. These small, unmanned marine vessels go by many names, highlighting their versatility across environments and applications.
Sometimes called drone boats when deployed on the water’s surface, these robots can also function as uncrewed subsurface vehicles when patrolling beneath the waves.
The terms drone ships or uncrewed surface vessels refer to their ability to navigate autonomously without a human crew onboard, just directed through remote communication networks. While specifics vary across models, most leverage advanced sensors, GPS and propriety algorithms to plot efficient courses responding to commands given by human operators safely on shore. Propulsion systems range from diesel-electric engines to wind and solar renewable options.
With roles spanning reconnaissance, inspection, smuggling interception and more, adoption of sea drones continues rising globally thanks to their cost efficiency and safety. Ongoing improvements in collision avoidance, durability and energy efficiency promise to further expand the value proposition for these unique marine robots into the future.
How deep can a drone go under water?
You raise an excellent point. Commercially available underwater drones designed for consumers and businesses typically dive to relatively shallow depths between 14 and 150 meters. For context, that’s deep enough to cover up to a 15-story building. Sensors, lights and thrusters enable remote observation, object retrieval and other functions at these depths.
However, specialized research vessels known as ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) are engineered to descend far deeper for scientific applications. For example, the SuBastian ROV was launched in 2018 with a maximum depth capacity of 4,500 meters – over 3 times higher than the Empire State Building! To withstand the immense water pressure, it requires thick borosilicate glass, dense foam buoyancy, titanium manipulator arms and other heavy duty components. While far less mobile than commercial drones, deep sea ROVs enable human operators to explore beyond 95% of the ocean that was previously inaccessible.
So in summary, while consumer-grade underwater drones cannot descend anywhere near major ocean depths, highly customized and expensive ROVs continue to push boundaries, shining light on an otherwise invisible realm in our planet’s hidden waters.