Always on the lookout for new and creative ways to gather information in hard to reach locations, the United States Naval Research Laboratory (USNRL) has quietly been developing a drone that can not only fly through the air, but also swim underwater.
Called “Flimmer”, the device has been under development for about two years, with research being spearheaded by Dan Edwards who works in the Vehicle Research and Tactical Electronic Warfare section within the USNRL. The Vehicle Research Section, according to the Navy, is “dedicated to advancing the state-of-the-art in unmanned systems technology.”
And Flimmer, if anything, seems to fit that bill.
Now the way Flimmer works is seemingly simple enough to belie its true complexity. The device takes off like any other airborne drone and flies off into the distance. Next, the drone splashes down at a pre-determined location, submerges itself under water where it then begins to swim to a target location. By air, Flimmer can reach speeds of 57 MPH. In the water, Flimmer travels at about 11 MPH.