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Ocean Quadcopter

October 15, 2013

A tiny but rugged unmanned helicopter helps researchers collect data in the stormy North Atlantic.



A seaworthy quadcopter. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A miniature quadcopter that can withstand the elements. (Inspirus Project)

Monitoring icebergs that threaten offshore oil rigs or studying bird populations in the stormy North Atlantic is dangerous work. But engineers are designing remotely operated quadcopters – pint-sized helicopters with four rotors – that can withstand powerful winds while taking high definition photographs and gathering data at sea. Nick Krouglicof of Memorial University in Newfoundland heads the project. He says the quadcopters, which measure less than a foot in diameter, take off from autonomous ocean vehicles, which serve as miniature aircraft carriers.

NICK KROUGLICOF (Memorial University):

What we’re developing is a device that’ll provide an eye in the sky capability to get more visibility of the surroundings around the autonomous surface craft because the visibility may not be very good at the water level.


He says the ocean quadcopter could also be used in search and rescue operations. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard