Robocod: Homeland Security adds underwater drones to their arsenal with robots based on fish

  • Flexible body and fins allow it to dart around the water like a real fish

By Daniel Miller

 

 

The new robot, named BioSwimmer, is actually based not on a cod but a tuna which is said to have the ideal natural shape for an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV).

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Fishy business: Homeland Security's latest drone - the BioSwimmer - unmanned underwater vehicle is based on a tunaFishy business: Homeland Security’s latest drone – the BioSwimmer – unmanned underwater vehicle is based on a tuna

Its ultra-flexible body coupled with mechanical fins and tail allow it to dart around the water just like a real fish even in the harshest of environments.

And while it does have a number of security applications, this high maneuverability makes it perfectly suited for accessing hard-to-reach places such as flooded areas of ships, sea chests and parts of oil tankers.

Other potential missions include inspecting and protecting harbors and piers, performing area searches and military applications.

BioSwimmer uses the latest battery technology for long-duration operation and boasts an array of navigation, sensor processing, and communications equipment designed for constricted spaces.

It is being developed by Boston Engineering Corporation’s Advanced Systems Group (ASG) basesd in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Trials: The BioSwimmer's flexible body and mechanical fins make it extremely maneuverable Trials: The BioSwimmer’s flexible body and mechanical fins make it extremely maneuverable

 

The fish-like design makes BioSwimmer perfectly suited for accessing hard-to-reach places such as flooded areas of ships, sea chests and parts of oil tankersThe fish-like design makes BioSwimmer perfectly suited for accessing hard-to-reach places such as flooded areas of ships, sea chests and parts of oil tankers

 

BioSwimmer uses the latest battery technology for long-duration operation and boasts an array of navigation, sensor processing, and communications equipment designed for constricted spacesBioSwimmer uses the latest battery technology for long-duration operation and boasts an array of navigation, sensor processing, and communications equipment designed for constricted spaces

David Taylor, program manager for the project at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security told Fox News: ‘It’s all about distilling the science. It’s called ‘biomimetics.

‘We’re using nature as a basis for design and engineering a system that works exceedingly well.

‘Tuna have had millions of years to develop their ability to move in the water with astounding efficiency. Hopefully we won’t take that long.’

BioSwimmer is also capable of operating in high viscocity fluids such as crude oil, which could make it a valuable tool for off-shore drilling operations.

It can be controlled by an operator using a laptop computer but is also being designed to function autonomously.

AGS Director Mike Rufo added: ‘It’s designed to support a variety of tactical missions and with its interchangeable sensor payloads and reconfigurable Operator Controls, and can be optimized on a per-mission basis.’

 

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