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)
Rob, you've got it: shapes and their movements in water are extremely important, probably as much so as on land, but with a different set of requirements. The FILOSE fish robot made this clearer to me.
Images 1 through 12 each have a link as well. I'm suggesting having that link point to the next page. Now, on the page with image 10 on it for example, the image has a link to the current page with image 10 on it and "next" has a link to the next page with image 11 on it. Can't the image point to the next page also?
Thanks, William, glad you enjoyed the slideshow. I had the same reaction to the Styrofoam material on hydrocarbon lakes on Titan's moon. But this *IS* a prototype, and that material will no doubt be changed out along the way, after some of the basic ME design is under control.
Of course it could be t6hat the material is just descriped as "styrofoam" even though it is one of those inorganic silicon based materials, or even a whote ceramic foam. And possibly purchasing substituted something"just as good".
Ann, if shape matters underwater, I would imagine we'll see more and more robots that take a lead from nature. How that will play out will probably depend on the purpose of the robot -- whether it's intended for speed or maneuverability.
I think you're right, Rob. The two things I noticed that came up again and again in underwater robot design were, of course, seals and water-tight protection of electronics etc., but also movement through water and how differently it must be engineered than movement through air. That said, most of these robots' purpose is neither speed nor maneuverability but to carry out certain research or military functions, usually some kind of surveillance or data gathering. Speed and maneuverability are generally secondary or even tertiary goals, with one or two exceptions, for instance, the robots that have to squeeze into tight spaces, such as this robotic tuna: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=251209
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