Boston Engineering has designed a robotic tuna fish called the BIOSwimmer that is capable of detecting weapons and contraband stowed away in ports and harbors. The unique swimming vehicle utilizes Boston Engineering’s proprietary GhostSwimmer technology, which provides efficiency and maneuverability, giving it the edge over other fish robots that are generally powered by vertical and horizontal thrusters.
According to Boston Engineering, the BIOSwimmer is an “end-to-end solution that includes the critical components of such a mission; swimming vehicle, sensing, post processing and control.” As such, the robot has attracted a lot of attention from the Department of Homeland Security.
Speaking to NBC News, David Taylor, program manager for the robot at the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate said: “The robot can sit in the water and go through a swimming motion like a fish and give you a better position-keeping capability.” This would allow the BIOSwimmer to inspect the hulls of ships using its sensor array and detect any cavities where contraband could be stored.
While the robot is capable of operating autonomously, control can also be maintained via a tether attached to a laptop computer. This 500 ft tether is long enough to inspect ship hulls and send information up through the cable. If operating independently, the robot would have to be periodically brought back to the surface for data downloading, which would limit real-time inspection capabilities. The BIOSwimmer is set to be deployed by the Department of Homeland Security within the next year at an unspecified US port.
Via NBC News
Images: United States Navy