The US Navy researches a lot in the biomimicry field and gets ideas from nature to be used in new technology. The recent outcome of their research efforts is a robot shark, dubbed GhostSwimmer,which looks and swims like a real fish. This project is a part of their research to investigate the probabilities of using unmanned, biomimetic, underwater systems. It’s a combination of automatic systems engineering, control capabilities, and unique propulsion.
This 5-f00t long, 100lb AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) has the ability to swim in water in a depth varying between 10-inches and 300-feet. The robot shark has gone through the testing phase successfully and will soon join the fleet.
The US navy is planning to use this underwater drone for surveillance, reconnaissance, and intelligence missions in addition to employing it for hull checks of friendly ships.It can also be used for port security, mine countermeasures, and other homeland and defense security initiatives, though there’s no news on weaponizing it. A popular strap-on would be lasers, though or restricted use under the water. With this metal monster, the Navy can experience success during many of their missions while keeping the sailors and divers safe.
The new gizmo acts like a math genius! Designed based on biomimetic principles, wherein researchers leverage several years of biological evolution for creating systems and machines that emulate natural processes or animals. The navy’s robot shark swims like a fish by moving its tail find to and fro. It can function unmanned for long time periods on battery power; if required, it can rise to the water surface for transmitting data. Alternatively, it can also be controlled using a 500-foot tether.
The designers of this robot shark are hoping that it could also be used for sniffing out the mines underwater, thus substituting the sea lions and bottlenose dolphins. They are now in the process of designing a smaller version of the robot shark called BIOSwimmer, mimicking the appearance of a tuna fish that can make use of a propeller to move around.
The US Navy has not yet revealed in detail how the ghost shark would transmit and receive data except for the basic info that it will surface to the water surface regularly to download the collected data. Neither have they announced how much the GhostSwimmer would cost nor have they disclosed when it would be deployed.
So, when you’re out enjoying at the beach next time and happen to see a shark fin sticking out on the surface of water, think twice- it could be just the navy’s robot shark or a real killer shark!