Developed by researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the waterproof Mirs-X autonomous drone is capable of both flying AND swimming underwater using its same four rotors for propulsion. It positions itself vertically to swim up or down and tilts itself horizontally to swim side to side or at an angle. So, if you thought you’d be safe from the human-hunting drones of the future by diving to the bottom of a swimming pool, think again.
The roughly 3.6-pound bot currently gets about six minutes of flight time but can swim for up to 40 minutes on account of needing significantly less energy to swim. Me? I use way too much of my energy trying to swim and prefer to just stand on the bottom in the shallow end with a cold drink in hand.
The researchers imagine the bot could be used to aid in future search and rescue missions, just like the researchers behind every new robot imagine. Of course, all it takes is one small tweak in programming to transform a search-and-rescue robot into a search-and-destroy robot. Food for thought, and probably a four-course robot apocalypse.