Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica

Uncategorized

Scientists Developing Swarms of Miniature Drifting Robots to Patrol the Ocean

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to UCSD reserchers, to develop small scale robots that will study tiny marine creatures.The National Science Foundation has just awarded researchers at UC San Diego a $1million grant to develop small robotic devices that will drift with the ocean currents to study the mechanisms that support plankton and other tiny marine creatures.  Swarms of the autonomous underwater explorers (AUE’s) could provide a window into the underlying factors that drive broader ocean processes, by more precisely focusing on localized data on currents, temperature, salinity, pressure, and other properties.

[social_buttons]

The robots could also some day patrol and monitor protected marine areas, provide early warnings of potential hazards such as algae blooms and oil spills, and even scout out plane crashes and other ocean-going emergencies.  Depending on how the devices are powered, the robot swarms could also provide a more sustainable means of accomplishing oceanic research compared to the use of ships and other fossil fuel-powered equipment.

Swarms of Autonomous Robots

The research team will initially develop about a half dozen underwater robots that are roughly the size of a soccer ball and 20 smaller versions.  The mechanisms are designed to be straightforward enough for school children to assemble and deploy as part of an outreach project.  A related $1.5 million grant will go to develop the systems needed to control the robots from a remote location.

Green Robots

The undersea robots will join a growing body of robotic devices with an environmental purpose, including robotic “fish” that monitor water quality in lakes and reservoirs, and drones that are being used to measure the Greenland ice sheet.

Image: Rendering of AUE’s by SIO via National Science Foundation.

 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
 

Advertisement
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

Comments

You May Also Like

Batteries

Sodium metal anode resists dendrite formation Originally published by National Science Foundation Replacing lithium and cobalt in lithium-ion batteries would result in a more...

Clean Power

Tapping into passive solar energy could be a step to carbon-free heating

Climate Change

By Mike England December 1 is Antarctica Day, which celebrates the anniversary of the signing of the Antarctic Treaty in 1959 and the setting aside of...

Climate Change

Rain fell on the peak of the Greenland ice cap last week, something that hasn't happened in over 12,000 years.

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.