Saab's Seaeye Falcon DR remotely operated vehicle (ROV) is used in a wide variety of applications, including oil & gas exploration, scientific exploration and data-gathering, and environmental monitoring. Its depth rating is 1,000 m (3,280 ft), and its maximum tether length is 1,100 m (3,608.9 ft) with a 14 mm (0.55 inch) diameter umbilical, although longer options can be achieved with custom umbilicals. It runs on a single-phase, universal auto-sensing, self-selecting input of 100-270V AC at 2.8 kW. The polypropylene chassis, measuring 635 mm x 600 mm x 1,055 mm (25 inch x 23.6 inch x 41.5 inch) is robust and lightweight for buoyancy and lack of corrosion. The robot's launch weight is 100 kg (220.5 lb), payload is up to 15 kg (33 lb), and top speed is more than 3 knots. 6,400 lumens of LED lights with variable density can be tilted to vary intensity, linked to the video camera's 180-degree tilting mechanism. Data and video are transmitted via F2 fiber optics. Powered by five magnetically coupled thruster units with a combined forward thrust of 50 kgf, the Seaeye Falcon DR has a 1:1 power to weight ratio. Standard sensors include auto depth and heading, pitch and roll, and compass. (Source: Saab)
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.
Thanks, Rob, I've had the same basic question. The clunky ones have been aorund a lot longer--in fact, last week I saw James Cameron's movie The Abyss (1989) again, and noticed the ROV in it looks just like many in use today, 24 years later. So presumably, the clunky ones are still perfectly serviceable for what they do. OTOH, I suspect the designers of the biomimicry-inspired ROVs and AUVs, and their funders, are interested in finding out whether animal-inspired designs will be more energy-efficient, and/or more cost-effective.
Nice to know that the anti-submarine warfare vessel is designed to operate entirely without human presence. On the few occasions when I've had a chance to go on board submarines, I've always been amazed how cramped and tiny they are. (They look much bigger in the movies.) BFor a human to be confined to a sub for any length of time appears to be a very tough assignment.
What an interesting question, Ann. Perhaps in water, the size and shape of the robot is not as important as it would be on shore. That is, unless speed is a factor. In that case, a shape with the least resistance would likely be superior.
An autonomous robotic vehicle for exploring lakes on other planets has been developed by researchers in the University of Arizona's department of electrical and computer engineering. Something like a nautical version of a planetary rover, the lake lander, also called the Tucson Explorer II (TEX II), could be used to investigate the liquid hydrocarbon lakes on Titan, Saturn's largest moon. Although it will be a while before TEX II goes on a mission to Titan, it can be used on Earth to clean up littoral munitions dumps and mines, as well as harbor surveillance, environmental research, and search and rescue operations in oceans, lakes, and hazardous environments. Controllable via an Internet connection, TEX II has cameras and sonar operational up to 100 m. Its catamaran design provides stability, with two 6-ft long fortified Styrofoam hulls about 5 ft apart. The Styrofoam lets the lake lander withstand hull damage while maintaining buoyancy of its 100-lb weight and 150-lb payload.
Seems like it has to much windage which may not be a problem on other planets but it is "air" driven! They even mention cleaning up mines. I assume that to be old fashion ship exploders! These thing are all swaming mines ready to go get your billion dollar aircraft carrier. NK should forget the nukes and make these. Air dropped in front of the path of a navy fleet, oh my goodness. Boom! What the heck was that? Boom! Boom! Boom!
This is a very interesting and informative slideshow, thanks Ann. There are certainly a variety of them around, for all sorts of applications.
It the floats on the one intended to explore those hydrocarbon lakes on Titan are really sytrofoam, though, I predict failure, since most hydrocarbon liquids disolve styrofoam, some faster, some more slowly, but most, eventually.
Excellent slide-show Ann. I must admit, when I think of robotic systems I think manufacturing. It's an eye-opener to see other viable applications for these devices. The underwater environment can be extremely hostile and certainly a place for robots. I imagine design criteria being quite different for underwater as opposed to above water. Seals and water-tight enclosures look to be a must to protect against issues with electronics and data-gathering equipment. Again, great post.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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