Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2021.


Computer Science and Engineering; Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Christopher Kitts

Second Advisor

Vlad Ivashyn


The Shearwater unmanned aerial vehicle is a maritime fixed-wing drone that is designed to use ground effect force generated between the aircraft and a body of water to efficiently propel itself near the surface of a body of water. Shearwater features a virtual reality pilot interface and will act as a hybrid underwater vehicle that will eventually be able to operate both above and beneath the ocean’s surface. The Shearwater team developed existing design work to produce major subsystems that culminated in a flyable functioning prototype. An existing airframe was updated with working control surfaces tested in simulation and in practice, an electrical control system, and a working virtual reality (VR) pilot view. The Shearwater team tested a practical prototype and developed an optimized virtual reality command and control system.