(Photo courtesy of EMMA Foundation)
A potential future use of drones was accidentally discovered by a Maryland crabber this week.
According to the Kent County News, waterman David Haas snared a defense contractor’s underwater drone while crabbing under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The seafaring drone, which is technically an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), appeared to be an upside-down sailboat at first, Haas’ wife told the News:
She said her husband brought home a 6- to 7-foot bright yellow tube with fins on the end. After inspecting it, a crew member found a service number on its underside and called it.
“We were a little concerned because it could have been very valuable and belong to someone,” Laurie Haas said.
Turns out, the drone belonged to Northrop Grumman. A spokesman told the Baltimore Sun that Haas inadvertently intercepted the drone after it completed its underwater mission. The couple eventually returned the drone to Northrop’s Annapolis office, but that still leaves the mystery of what is was up to.
The model is more small and stealthy than other REMUS offerings, and features a full suite of sensors. For the military, the drone has been used for sonar-based mapping and mine detection. But the drone also has potential civilian uses, such as environmental monitoring.
In the polluted and military-surrounded Bay, it’s basically a toss-up as to which function this particular mission was carrying out.
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