Many robots designed to operate on or in water are destined to serve in military, naval, and homeland security capacities. Others are aimed at scientific exploration and data gathering, such as monitoring marine ecosystems and gathering data about water quality. Some of the plainer ones are remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), underwater unmanned vehicles (UUVs), or autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs): the naval versions of their unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) counterparts. Others look like fish, jellyfish, or submarines.
Whether they navigate the salty seas or fresh water lakes, rivers, or oceans, many models can do a number of different types of tasks, depending on their payloads. Robots made to work in water are usually designed to be either remote-controlled or autonomous, and some can even switch from one mode to another.
Click on the image below to see 12 of these underwater workers.
The Serpent remotely operated vehicle (ROV) from Seaview Systems is designed for exploring very small-diameter pipelines. It can investigate conduits as small as 9 inches (23 cm) in diameter, and fit around bends with a radius as narrow as 27 inches (68.5 cm). Measuring 9 inch x 9 inch x 57 inch (23 cm x 23 cm x 145 cm) and weighing 70 lb (32 kg), the Serpent runs on two 300W brushless DC motors that give it a total forward thrust of 18 lb (8 kg). With a 0.5 inch (1.3 cm) diameter fiber-optic tether, it can explore as far as 6,000 ft (1,830 m) down a pipe or tunnel. A 360-degree pan/orbit/zoom color camera and two color cameras are included, along with two 70W high-intensity LEDs. The robot also has heading, pitch and roll, and depth sensors, as well as sonar. A fiber-optic telemetry system provides up to three video channels, four RS232 channels, and two RS485 channels. (Source: Seaview Systems)
Nice slideshow Ann. Quite a wide range of differences in structure. It would be interesting to know whether the robots designed to look like sea creatures are intrinsically superior to the clunky looking water bots.
There is currently much discussion around the term "platform," which may be preceded by the adjectives "mobile," "wearable," "medical," "healthcare," etc. However, regardless of the platform being discussed, they usually have one key aspect in common: They tend to be wireless. So, why is this one aspect so fairly universal? The answer is convenience.
Everyone has a MEMS story. For most of us it’s probably the airbag that saved our lives or the life of a loved one. Perhaps it’s the tire pressure sensor that alerted us about deflation before we were stranded alone on a dark muddy road.
Bioimimicry is not merely a helpful design tool -- it also encourages designers to think not only about how to solve design problems by imitating nature, but how to make the products, materials, and systems they design more ecologically sound and nature-friendly.
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