Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed the first unmanned, fixed-wing aircraft that is capable of traveling both through the air and under the water – transitioning repeatedly between sky and sea. The EagleRay XAV, which was developed with funding and assistance from Teledyne Scientific, holds promise for use in applications such as tracking and observing wildlife.
“Maintaining aerial surveillance can use a lot of energy,” says Warren Weisler, a Ph.D. student at NC State who worked on the EagleRay project. “The EagleRay can conserve energy by spending some of its time in the water.
“For example, the EagleRay could track a fast-moving pod of dolphins from the air, then spend time loitering in the water if the dolphins stop to take advantage of a good feeding spot. The EagleRay could then resume flight when the dolphins begin moving again.”
Originally published Feb. 14, 2018. Written by Matthew Shipman.