French dronemaker Parrot’s latest creation turns a flying machine into an engine for a boat. The boat-drone hybrid is a hydrofoil–a boat already designed to lift most of its body from the water and travel instead through the air, just skimming the surface of the sea. With a simple command from a smartphone app, a lever tilts up the deck-mounted Flying Spider miniature quadcopter to a 90 degree angle. With rotors turned into propellers, the Spider pulls the hydrofoil through water.
Watch it below:
Or at least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. A Popular Science intern on hand for the New York demonstration of Parrot’s new drones last week notes that the operator couldn’t stop crashing it into the sides of the narrow pool. Adapting quadcopter controls, made for steering a light drone flying level through the air, to pulling a larger boat through water might take some work and some practice. That’s possibly something that could change with better software if it proves to be a significant problem.
Parrot says their hydrofoil will retail for $179, and comes with both the Flying Spider drone and extra hydrofoil body. A 25 minute charge will give it enough power to sail for 7 minutes at 6 mph. This makes it a fun toy, but don’t expect it to deliver beer to lake-goers anytime soon.
Dave Gershorn contributed reporting to this story.