On St. Patrick's Day the Applied Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins publicized a fascinating and kickass new wrinkle in drone innovation with a perfect name: CRACUNS. The name stands for Corrosion Resistant Aerial Covert Unmanned Nautical System. The Lab's release explained that CRACUNS "is a submersible UAV that can be launched from a fixed position underwater, or from an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV)." More in the video that accompanied the release below:
Jason Stipes, the project manager of the team that developed CRACUNS, said it was created to respond "to evolving sponsor challenges" and his team was "inspired to develop a vehicle that could operate both underwater and in the air."
The CRACUNS developers conquered the challenges of creating a machine that could range from fairly deep underwater into the air by using a "lightweight, submersible, composite airframe" that could hold up to deep water pressure. Then they tackled the problem of motor corrosion in a saltwater environment by using "commercially available protective coatings." The CRACUNS's motors worked and showed no signs of deterioration even after the team submerged them for two months.
The CRACUNS isn't intimidating in size but as we've seen over and over, with drones it isn't size that matters. As good guys and bad guys have found more creative uses for them, they've become a fact of life in recreation and in warfare.
The Age of the Drone is here—and CRACUNS proves it will soon be a fact of life lurking underwater, as well.