Dual drone system that can fly in the air and dive underwater

Engineers have developed a system that combines multi-wing drones and underwater drones that can be used for construction inspection and maintenance and search and rescue.

Picture 1 of Dual drone system that can fly in the air and dive underwater
The Sea-Air Integrated Drone system uses Prodrone's multi-wing drone to carry the Fifish underwater drone.

Although underwater drones can perform many tasks, getting the device to the diving area can sometimes be difficult. Engineers create a new system that uses aerial drones to transport and deploy underwater drones. Called the Sea-Air Integrated Drone, this hybrid design was recently introduced at the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise amusement park in Yokohama, Japan. This is the result of a partnership between telecom operator KDDI, aerial drone maker Prodrone and underwater robotics company Qysea.

The new system uses one of Prodrone's many all-weather multi-wing drones, combined with Qysea's Fifish Pro V6 Plus underwater drone. The Fifish Pro V6 Plus is also known as a small remotely operated vehicle (ROV). Fifish will be housed in a quick-opening cage mounted under the belly of the multi-wing drone.

Ashore operators use long-range mobile communications to direct the system to its destination onshore. The vehicle is guided by both satellite navigation and real-time data from the camera on the multi-wing drone. The user then lands the vehicle on the water. Fifish is taken out of the cage but is still connected to the multi-wing drone via a long power and communication cable. Fifish will conduct the dive under the remote control of the operator. After completing the diving mission, the electric winch of the multi-wing drone will pull Fifish back to the cage to fly to shore.

Some possible applications of the system include inspection, maintenance or repair of underwater systems, offshore wind turbines or underwater structures. In addition, hybrid drones can be used for scientific research, inspecting the bow of a ship or in search and rescue missions.