A team of Canadian scientists introduced a drone, called Suwawe that can land and take off again on water and stop to charge itself with solar power in between flights. Drones of the fixed-wing can travel very long distances thanks to their more efficient shape in the air, but a huge space is needed to launch them. A drone that could take off vertically offers a greater range and payload capacity and that would be a step forward for drone technology. This aquatic drone can crash land on the surface of a lake endure those impacts, and then take off again.
The Suwawe is crafted from polystyrene and carbon fiber with a rotating center body, which contains the battery and the motor and hooks up to the propellor. When the drone rests on the water, this component sits at 90 degrees to the rest of the aircraft. To take off thrust pulls the aircraft forwards and upwards, passively swinging this center body into its resting place in between the wings.
The team has tested its takeoff and landing capabilities, and the next steps involve developing autonomous flight control and fitting the drone out with solar panels. The project is available here, and the drone can be seen in action in the video below.
Source: IEEE Spectrum