The Naval Research Lab is testing a flying drone that can land on water and then travel like a submarine below the surface. Designed to carry sensors into places difficult or dangerous for regular vehicles, it’s a bird-inspired amphibian that may find hostile submarines, detect chemicals or swim to inspect oil spills. They’ve named this combination machine, somehow, Flimmer.
Earlier this month, the NRL released a video showing the robot fly and swim. One of the major challenges is incorporating both flippers for swimming and wings for flying without having either interfere with the function of the other. Here, you can see the flippers folded up perpendicular to the wings in flight.
In order for it to swim under water, those flippers will fold down, propelling future Flimmers as they dive beneath the surface.
Watch the full video below: