MEDUSA ‘dual robot’ drone flies and dives to monitor water quality
Researchers at Imperial College London have developed a shape-shifting drone that can both fly through the air and float on a water surface. This Multi-Environment Dual robot for Underwater Sample Acquisition, aka MEDUSA, drone can also extend its “tentacles” underwater to collect samples and monitor water quality.
MEDUSA is a multirotor drone that ecologists can fly to a hard-to-reach aquatic environment, instead of sending boats and putting human workers at risk. The drone has floats attached to its landing gear, which allows it to stay above the water surface. Once it has landed on the water, MEDUSA deploys its tethered mobile underwater pod, which is armed with a camera and sensors, and can dive to depths of up to 10 meters.
The drone operator can remotely adjust the pod’s depth and position in the water, guided by real-time video and sensor feedback from the pod. And once water samples are taken, the drone reels in the cable and retracts the pod…