Saying it loud … for those in the back: N.J. is still the Innovation State

By Tom Bergeron


November 7, 2022

Sure, it’s a drone in the most simplistic of descriptions. But like all of the 14 winners honored at the 43rd Edison Patent Awards last week, it is anything but basic.

It’s an invention that can transform society. And it’s an invention that was created in New Jersey.

This drone, patented by Rutgers scientists Francisco Javier Diez-Garcia and Marco Maia, is the first to be able to travel seamlessly between air and water, which means its propellors can change their spin speed from 1 mph to 100 mph in an instant, they said.

That’s Why Diez-Garcia and Maia spent more than three years perfecting their invention.

The fact that it has immediate commercial applications is why the pair already has started a company: SubUAS. (Just imagine how this drone could ease the process of inspecting the bases of bridges or the turbines that will power the state’s burgeoning offshore wind industry.)

Gov. Phil Murphy has talked enthusiastically about rebuilding the state’s innovative economy to produce companies such as SubUAS. But this annual event, sponsored by the Research & Development Council of New Jersey, makes the case that the state is much closer to reaching that goal than many would realize.

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