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Your location: Home > Related Articles > MEDUSA aerial drones can deploy underwater pods to collect aquatic data

MEDUSA aerial drones can deploy underwater pods to collect aquatic data

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-01 Click:34

Although aerial drones fly much faster than underwater drones, they are certainly not as good at collecting data related to water. The MEDUSA multi rotor drone solved this problem by landing on the water surface and deploying an underwater pod.

MEDUSA stands for "Multi environment Dual Robot for Underwater Sample Collection" and is being developed by a team at Imperial College London. The testing has been conducted in Switzerland by collaborating research institutions Empa and Eawag.

Under the remote control of the onshore operator, the MEDUSA hexarotor helicopter began flying to the area where sampling was required - as it was flying, it was able to reach areas that water vessels with crew members may not be able to reach. Then, it lands on the water surface, supported by floats attached to its landing gear.

Once the drone is in place, its underwater pod will be released from its bottom. The latter can descend to a maximum depth of 10 meters and maintain contact with the drone through a coiled umbilical cable. By viewing real-time images from the camera in the pod, the operator can collect water samples for subsequent analysis - the pod's own sensors can also obtain data on water temperature, acidity, and microbial content.

After the data collection is completed, the drone twists the pod back by rolling up the cable. Then the entire device was simply flown back to its base.

In the tests conducted so far, MEDUSA has been used to monitor blue-green algae that may cause algal growth in Swiss lakes. People hope that once further developed, this technology can also be used to identify signs of climate change in the Arctic region, or to monitor underwater infrastructure such as pipelines and floating wind turbine bases.

Professor Mirko Kovac, Chief Scientist, said, "The uniqueness of MEDUSA lies in its dual robot design, where the flying part can reach areas that are difficult to access, while the diving part can monitor water quality. Our drone greatly simplifies the robot's underwater monitoring by performing challenging tasks, otherwise it would require a ship."

Earlier this year, a Japanese consortium proposed a similar system, in which an aerial drone flew to a target location, landed on the water surface, and then deployed an underwater drone from its bottom cage.