Researchers have created a prototype ‘smart’ maneuvering robotic turtle for conducting under water surveys and hazardous missions and tasks that are too dangerous for humans.
The robotic sea turtle has been developed by a team of scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS). The turtle moves underwater and can dive to deeper depths vertically, like a real turtle, by using its front and hind limbs gait movements. The robotic turtle is self-charging, and doesn't need to return to base station when it runs out of battery. The team stated that the prototype is agile and capable of taking turns at sharp corners with small radius, without losing speed.
Prof. S.K Panda of NUS, stated that the team hopes to produce a swarm of autonomous tiny robotic sea turtles and fishes to perform hazardous missions such as detecting nuclear wastes, or inspect pipes and cables underwater.
“Our turtle robot does not use a ballast system which is commonly used in underwater robots for diving or sinking functions,” said Panda from the electrical and computer engineering department of NUS.
Another researcher Abhra Roy Chowdhury stated that the team has designed and developed four other underwater prototypes including a spherical robot that mimics a puffer fish in structure as well as three robotic fishes of different morphologies. He added that these robots are developed to be modular, scalable and can avoid detection.
“If need be, we can actually combine all their merits in a single robot,” Chowdhury added.