This Drone Doubles as a Boat’s Sail (Video)

By Jonathan Zhou, Epoch Times
June 12, 2015 4:34 pm Last Updated: June 12, 2015 4:34 pm

Is there anything drones can’t do?

From serving as a platform for racing through the forest, taking romantic photos of wedding proposals, or making sure you never have to leave the house ever again, it feels like the applications of these winged gadgets are positively endless.

Recently the Department of Defense held a decathlon of sorts for robots, who had to perform a mock-rescue mission that involved driving a car, opening doors and valves, and cutting a hole through the wall, all for the sake of the $2 million dollar grand prize.

As the capabilities of drones evolve and expand, it’s not out of the question that a similar competition—one that involves a race across the land, the air, and the sea—could be organized for drones, whose functions look more flexible everyday.

Parrot has recently revamped its miniature quadcopter, the Rolling Spider, to make it compatible as a sail engine for hydrofoils. The company released a video on Friday of their bite-size seaplane gliding across the surface of a large pool.

Unlike actual seaplanes, the Spider doesn’t yet have the ability to take off in flight with the boat portion attached, but it’s only a matter of time before a drone with that ability is made. After all, design concepts of a drone that can lift humans, so as to provide an airborne taxi service, already exist.

It’s likely that we’re on the cusp of a giant explosion in drone innovation, which has been stymied in the United States by a stagnant regulatory regime that still outlaws any form of commercial drone activity.