State institute develops new drone capable of moving in air and water.

By Lim Chang-won Posted : April 25, 2019, 13:30 Updated : April 25, 2019, 13:30

[Courtesy of Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology]

SEOUL -- A South Korean research team has developed a battery-powered drone that can move not only in the air but also in shallow water.

The drone equipped with four rotating wings, which are similar in shape to conventional drones, can float and get off the water, according to the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST). Because its fuselage can control buoyancy, the drone can travel underwater one to three meters deep.

It can expand the scope of use by installing optical cameras and various observation sensors, the institute said, adding a new type of drones could be developed if related technologies are integrated into a hybrid drone using a battery, a gasoline engine, one fixed horizontal wing and four rotating wings.

The institute has successfully tested the prototype of its first hybrid drone that can take off vertically with a battery-powered rotary wing and switch to a gasoline engine for a long horizontal flight using a fixed wing. The hybrid drone had a maximum speed of 110 kilometers per hour during its test flight and flew for two and a half hours at 80 kilometers per hour, consuming only 0.8 of the 1.8-liter fuel loaded.
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