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News Link • Drones

Skin-shedding drone can traverse air, water and land

•, Colin Druce-McFadden
 Hidden installations and underwater defenses remain complete mysteries to an airborne vehicle. But now there's a new drone concept on the table that just might be able to go anywhere the mission demands.
Developed at Sandia National Laboratory, the "Multi-Modal Vehicle Concept" is a bit like a Russian nesting doll of a drone. It begins its life as a fixed-wing aircraft, capable of taking long-range reconnaissance flights. But when the need arises for a closer look, it can dip below the waves, shed its wings and swim with its own paddle-like limbs.
Once in the shallows and heading toward dry land, the drone goes through a second transformation. Leaving its flippers on the sea floor, the drone rolls out of the water on four flexible wheels. If even driving around doesn't get it to its intended destination, the Multi-Modal Vehicle will also be capable of sand-flea style leaps of up to thirty feet in the air.

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