Bluefin Robotics, makers of AUV’s (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles) was recently awarded a $30 million contract for HULS ( Explosive Ordnance Disposal Hull Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Localization Systems) by The Naval Surface Warfare Center.
David Kelly, president of Bluefin Robotics stated,
We are looking forward to the opportunity to leverage the work done on the HAUV and under our other underwater systems programs for this important U.S. Navy requirement,
Shown here is Bluefin Robotics’s HAUV 2 person portable hull inspection robot. The company will produce a version of this robot that has a manipulator arm for removing objects like mines or bombs. The current version of HAUV weighs 174 pounds and using a lithium polymer battery pack, can last for 3 1/2 hours at a time with a standard payload and no current in the water.
HAUV also has a fiber optic Ethernet tether for real time communications and imaging sonar. The battery pack and 4 gig memory card are easily swappable to keep the missions going when out in the field.
Protei is the plural for Proteus, son of Poseidon, the god of the sea.
Protei is a cool open source project aimed at creating a fleet of autonomous sailboats that help skim the surface of the water and clean up oil spills. Basically the designers have moved steering from the rear of the sailboat to the front and added a long tail that absorbs the oil.
From their website:
Our vision :
Protei is a fleet of pollution collecting sailing drones. It is using existing technologies in an innovative design we can implement on the short term to address the crisis. We are developing a low-cost open-source oil collecting device that semi-autonomously sails upwind, intercepting oil sheens going downwind. The design of protei is meant to be hurricane-ready, self-righting, inflatable, unbreakable, cheap and easy to manufacture for immediate response.
Click through for a video explaining it in more detail.
If so inclined, you can donate to the next prototype on Kickstarter.
Researchers at the UMASS Amherst Fluid-Structure Interactions Lab have built a fish that can achieve a speed of 4 g from a standstill. Some fish, like a Pike, can achieve speeds of 15 g for a few seconds. The researchers state:
We have built a simple mechanical system to emulate the fast-start performance of fish. The system consists of a thin metal beam covered by a urethane rubber, the fish body and an appropriately shaped tail. The body form of the mechanical fish was modeled after a pike species and selected because it is a widely-studied fast-start specialist.
We have seen other robotic fish, such as the one from Maurizio Porfiri, but this fish from UMASS Amherst is so far the fastest robotic fish and will someday be able to navigate rough seas or escape imminent danger.
iRobot recently received two contracts from the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO). The first contract is for $900,000 and will refurbish and upgrade NAVOCEANO’s existing Seaglider fleet. The second contract worth $920,000 will provide new Seaglider’s.
Seaglider is a torpedo like submersible that is able to work autonomously for many months at sea, while sending back data. Seaglider periodically cruises to the surface to stick its antennae up in the air and transmit data back home via satellite.
See our previous post about Seaglider, which was bought by iRobot in 2008 from the University of Washington.
Click through for a video from Komo 4 News in Seattle.