Gizmag reports that Oakland University's Loon Copter flies in the same fashion as any other quadcopter, and "initially floats when it comes to rest on the water. It can then simply sit in one spot, or it can use its props to push itself along the surface. The real fun starts when it pumps water into its buoyancy chamber, though, causing it to sink".
In its current prototype form, the untethered drone's underwater remote control range is limited to a depth of a few meters. Its video also can't be transmitted topside, and is instead recorded onboard for subsequent viewing. Down the road, however, all that could change.
"We are looking into acoustic modems, repeater buoys, and some other techniques that could allow streaming of live video for operator feedback as well as data and control commands," lead scientist Dr. Osamah Rawashdeh tells us. "For open-water applications, we can have the vehicle dive at predefined GPS points to various depths autonomously and follow some pre-programmed movement patters underwater to collect data or video footage."
Full story here.