A team of Canadian scientists has come up with a solution to these shortcomings, with a drone that can land and take off again on water and possibly stop to charge itself with solar power in between flights.
Indeed a drone that could take off vertically like a chopper and soar like a plane once it's in the air, offering greater range and payload capacity, would be a huge step forward for drone technology. Last year we saw researchers from the Delft University of Technology demonstrate a drone that does just that on dry land, intended to deliver medical supplies to tough-to-reach areas.
The Sherbrooke University Water-Air VEhicle (SUWAVE), developed by researchers from that very institution, instead operates on water, and it does so with good reason. This allows it to essentially crash land on the surface of a lake, with testing showing that it can endure those impacts, and then use a clever mechanism to launch itself into the air again.