Sea Turtle Robot to Explore the Ocean

Exploration in the deep blue oceans…..sounds interesting, but humans still have some limitations.  A team of Indian origin researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) is coming up with a next generation ‘thinking’ robotic sea turtle which is capable of performing complicated tasks such as surveillance and energy harvesting.


The team led by associate professor S.K. Panda is currently putting the final touches to the robotic sea turtle which could move underwater and dive to deeper depths vertically, like a real turtle, by using its front and hind limbs movements.  The ‘smart’ maneuvering robot can be used for oceanic surveys, inspections of pipe and cables, ship hull or propeller’s shaft.

turtle2In the near future, it would be possible to produce a swarm of autonomous tiny robotic sea turtles and fishes for example, to perform hazardous missions such as detecting nuclear wastes underwater or other tasks too dangerous for humans.  Researchers say that in the underwater robotic world, turtle robots are among the most maneuverable.  Other than it being maneuverable, it can also go about determinedly performing what it is set out to do, while being able to react to obstacles.


“Our turtle robot does not use a ballast system which is commonly used in underwater robots for diving or sinking functions” said Panda.  Without this ballast system, it is much smaller and lighter, enabling it to carry bigger payloads so that it can perform more complicated tasks such as surveillance, water quality monitoring, or energy harvesting for long endurance.

The robot can self-charge its batteries while at sea.  The researchers say that the robot might be capable to generate battery-charging electricity by settling in one spot on the sea floor, then harnessing the power of underwater currents.  Like a real turtle, it swims and executes sharp high-speed turns using paddling motions of its front and rear flippers.  There are many applications for the turtle robot which could help humans at sea.


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