Rutgers Inventors Receive Edison Patent Award

A drone that can fly, float, swim, dive, and transition between air and water in less than a second. This innovation, invented at Rutgers School of Engineering (SoE), received a 2022 Edison Patent Award at the Research & Development Council of New Jersey annual banquet on Thursday, Nov. 3.

Rutgers SoE professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering F. Javier Diez-Garias and Marco Maia who earned his bachelor's and doctoral degrees at SoE received the Defense Award for “Unmanned Air And Underwater Vehicle” patent (U.S. 10,315,762). Created at Rutgers, the “Naviator” is the first drone that can operate in multiple and different environments through its multiplane propulsion system. It is designed to transition to and from airborne and underwater operations easily and repeatedly, and robust enough to work in a variety of weather conditions and underwater currents.

“It is never easy to bridge multiple industries, and the Naviator air-water platform does just that--bringing together aerial and underwater disciplines in a manner not thought possible until now. We are very honored for our work to receive the recognition that comes with the Edison Patent Award,” said Diez and Maia. “Thomas Edison said, ‘There is no substitute for hard work,’ and we employ this philosophy on a daily basis with our incredible team to invent and execute out-of-the-box ideas.”

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The Edison Patent Awards, named for Thomas Edison and now in their 43rd year, include 14 categories and are presented annually by the Research & Development (R&D) Council of New Jersey to recognize and highlight the “broad array of research conducted in the state.” A team of R&D Council researchers selects the winners after evaluating nominated patents “based on the significance of the problem addressed, its utility/socioeconomic value, [and] novelty and commercial impact.” The 2022 event was held on November 3rd at Liberty Science Center in Jersey City. To read the RDNJ release and see the full list of 2022 Edison Patent Award recipients, click here.