Underwater robots to get smaller, cheaper and ‘independent’

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

WASHINGTON - Scientists are developing robots that would be able to explore the deep seas independently, without help from humans.

Thomas Rauschenbach, of the Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB and his team is working on a generation of autonomous underwater robots, which will be smaller, more robust and cheaper than the previous models.

Autonomous underwater vehicles or the AUVs shall be able to find their bearings in clear mountain reservoirs equally well as in turbid harbour water. They will be suitable for work on the floor of the deep sea as well as for inspections of shallow concrete bases that offshore wind power station have been mounted on.
he researchers are developing the “brain” of the robot: a control program that keeps the AUV on course in currents such as at a certain distance to the wall that is to be examined.

They provided the silicone encapsulation for the pressure-tolerant construction of electronic circuits as well as the “ears” of the new robot: ultrasound sensors permit the inspection of objects.

Contrary to the previously conventional sonar technology, researchers are now using high-frequency sound waves, which are reflected by the obstacles and registered by the sensor. (ANI)

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