Poachers and fish beware, this ocean drone is on your trail

It launches and lands like a helicopter, and transitions to fixed-wing flight for longer endurance

We don't usually think of drones as operating over open water, but Aerovel's Flexrotor drone was designed to do just that.

Flexrotor can land and take off vertically like a helicopter, without the need for any additional infrastructure on the deck of a ship. This gives the vehicle the ability to operate from almost any vessel. Once airborne, Flexrotor transitions to horizontal flight, which allows the vehicle a much longer range of operation. 

"What they were intended for was to go out and spot tuna or anything that you needed to find in an austere environment where manned aircraft are no longer safe," says Matt Parker, vice president of Precision Integrated Programs, a company signed up to be the launch customer for Flexrotor.  

Since its inception, Flexrotor has gone on to hunt for humans as well. 

"Our first mission we went out for was actually to protect marine protected areas," Parker says. "We were out at sea, Cocos Island, 300 nautical miles off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, to monitor the marine protected areas and make sure there weren’t illegal poachers and shark finners and such in the area."

More recently, Flexrotor was used to guide a fleet of ships through ice in the Arctic. The drone can carry up to a 4.5-kilogram payload and can be equipped with a number of sensors, including LIDAR, infrared, and multispectral. It also serves useful on land, in places where there isn't much space to land, like small fields in a forest. 

Full-scale production of the Flexrotor will begin in the first quarter of 2017, Parker says.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Magdalena Petrova

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?