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Underwater Robots for Everyone

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the for-the-guy-who-has-everything dept.

Robotics 145

Dirak writes "A small 112-pound ocean glider named Spray is the first autonomous underwater vehicle to cross the Gulf Stream underwater. Launched September 11, 2004, it has been slowly making 12 miles per day measuring various properties of the ocean. Spray spent 15 minutes three times a day on the surface to relay its position and information about ocean conditions and then glided back down to 3,300-feet depth ." And reader RoboFreak writes "Two Computer Science students at Brigham Young University-Hawaii have developed a Low Cost Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. The students also entered their robot, LUV, in the AUVSI and ONR's 7th International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition at San Diego, CA and competed against top Ivy-League teams. Their robot received recognition in the form of an award at this competition. This robot was designed with a budget of only about $600 and seems to be the cheapest AUV around. One of the AUV designers' interview conducted by Amit Kr Chanda of The Times of India is available here."

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145 comments

Today in Slashdot (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10742843)

A game called Evil Genius [slashdot.org] , Robots with Shotguns [slashdot.org] , and now Underwater Robots. Must... not... make... Austin... Powers... Joke.

Re:Today in Slashdot (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10742946)

fuck your family, douchebag

Not so funny scenario (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10742953)

These underwater robots would be ideal as weapons of war in the Persian gulf. You could pack some nuclear explosives in them and also put some wheels on them so that they can move on land, effectively being amphibious. A possible scenario is the following. Iran builds the nuclear weapons that it has, so often, threatened to do.

We then launch about 100 of these underwater robots off the coast of the Arabian peninsula. The bots submerge and head for Iran. After about 1 week, they reach their destination and appear at the Iranian ports under cover of the night. The wheels activate, and the bots speed for the nuclear weapons facilities. 10 bots speed for the Tehran. Within 24 hours, the bots denote, turning Iran into a smoldering cesspool of radioactivity.

The global war on terror is won.

Re:Not so funny scenario (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10742963)

Our military already has the ability to place ordinance on any square meter of the earth within 4 hours. Doing it underwater that takes 10 days is lame.

Re:Not so funny scenario (3, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743031)

On the other hand ... being able to place underwater mines in that fashion could be valuable. Forget the wheels: just send a flock of smartbots to cover a shipping lane or a port. They might have to surface every now and then for instructions and then hide on the bottom again. If they get told: "detonate when any ship meeting sonar profile AA93 comes within range" or something like that things would get difficult for the bad guys.

Re:Not so funny scenario (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743550)

This idea was already discussed once upon a time on Slashdot. It has a few "minor" caveats - in order to move without any noise an underwater glider needs a reasonable depth differential. Practically this means that it needs a few hundred meters depth. In addition to that it has very few passive means of verifying its position under water because GPS signals do not penetrate even a thin water layer. While you can get a fairly good precision using gyros, a gyro that is suitable for installation on an underwater glider is likely to cost 20000+. So so much for the cheap and cheerful method of delivering a lethal blow inside the enemy port. Major shipping lanes in very deep straights like the Bosphorus, the horn of Africa, the exit from the Persian Gulf - maybe. But any of these targets are reachable by conventional means without causing any suspicion so what's the point?

Re:Not so funny scenario (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10743002)

When are you joining the military, cunt?

Sounds suspicious... (0, Offtopic)

fail_miserably() (755243) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742849)

Me, Robot?

BYU hawaii (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10742851)

BYU hawaii is teh rox

Finally (5, Insightful)

Stripsurge (162174) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742854)

Its nice to see a few bucks thrown towards exploring our own planet. Sure its great to look for life on other planets, but there are still "creatures of the deep" right here waiting to be discovered. Granted this particular craft didn't have life exploration but this technology could be mass produced at that price and scour the oceans for all kinds of goodies.

Re:Finally (3, Insightful)

headbulb (534102) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743105)

It makes sense to spend money on things to explore our own planet.

Stuff is cheap to make here, Why not make the mistakes cheaply so that when we go to make the vehicle to explorer other planets. (some moons have a liquid substance) We already have the knowhow and only have a few things to re-engineer.

Some ask why it was so cheap for the spaceshipone to be built and flown.. Well thats because we already spent tons of money figuring out how to do alot of the stuff they did on the spaceshipone. So to say that America (or any other country, I do have to give the Russians credit) has been wasting money on the space program, and then try to use the price of spaceshipone as proof doesn't go over too well.

So as we build on our collective experience's/knowledge things get cheaper.
Same applies to alot of the objects we use everyday.

Domo Arigato (3, Funny)

blackmonday (607916) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742863)

There's been a lot of talk about robots around here lately, so I want to reiterate - It's all good until they become self aware!

Re:Domo Arigato (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10743635)

- It's all good until they become self aware!

I can't let you do that, Dave.

practical underwater vehicles (2, Funny)

wattersa (629338) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742866)

I for one won't be satisfied until they have sharks with frickin' lasers on their heads, at which time I'll welcome our new weaponized underwater...underlords. meh.

Not for everybody (4, Insightful)

sketerpot (454020) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742869)

This is great for people who want to do underwater stuff cheaply, but it isn't for everyone. When was the last time you needed an underwater robot? There are lots of people who would be able to put these to good use. There are people using underwater robots to log dead trees that were submerged by the construction of dams. Using lots of cheaper underwater robots could be a better way of doing underwater exploration than a few expensive but beefier robots.

Re:Not for everybody (4, Insightful)

Krow10 (228527) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742943)

When was the last time you needed an underwater robot?
Oh, for fuck's sake! I absolutely loathe the "when was the last time you needed..." objection. It's fucking cool. That's enough. I might build one for just that reason (been looking to get back into autonomous vehicles for a bit, and maybe I can take up scuba again at the same time.) When was the last time most people needed broadband? Fucking "good use." That shit's for grant applications.

Cheers,
Craig

And besides (1)

konstantinlevin (826665) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743300)

Who the hell *doesn't* need an underwater robot? Food, oxygen, underwater robot, shelter.

Re:Not for everybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10743303)

But when was the last time something 'cool' every helped?

Re:Not for everybody (1)

sketerpot (454020) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743633)

Okay, you have a good point. But I still can't see underwater robots appealing to a huge number of people. They appeal to you, they sound great to me, and they'd be great for drug smuggling. I don't doubt that there are plenty of good uses for them.

But for everybody? Anybody can get a pretty decent computer algebra system [sf.net] for free, but most people I know have never even heard of them.

Smugglers need underwater robots (1)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743508)

Underwater robots that can go long distances on the seabed with 20-50 kilos of 'sensitive goods', use GPS to maintain their course (if GPS works underwater), wait quietly at a predetermined destination upon arrival, and then float to the surface and signal their exact location to a pick-up cigar boat would be a dream to smugglers.

'Log dead trees?'

Man, you are not thinking about the real possiblities that these machines offer!!

Re:Smugglers need underwater robots (1)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743588)

Here's my $600.

Deliver it to Victoria, BC.

I'll load it with 80 pounds of primo BC bud and send it off on its little journey across the sound. Ten to fifteen hours later, I'll be waiting at the little cove outside Sequim, Washington with my new SUV ('just $100 down, show your paycheck stub, and drive off the lot in your new SUV!!', says the radio ad).

The little sucker can drive itself up the ramp into my new SUV with tinted windows right up from the dock.

Then a leisurely six hour drive back to Portland and it's 'happy, happy, happy...all of the time' (like the Ramones used to say) for all my friends in Southeast Portland.

A couple days later, do it all again.

"logging underwater dead trees???"

Re:Smugglers need underwater robots (1)

dabigpaybackski (772131) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743672)

Man, you are not thinking about the real possiblities that these machines offer!!

I am. For one thing, it would make a deadly naval mine, but I think somebody already mentioned that on another string.

As for productive uses, there are many, but the one that intrigues me most is for studying marine mammal populations, particularly whales. Using these for protracted studies would be a hell of a lot cheaper than paying to crew a boat filled with scientists.

This begs the question: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10742871)

Will humans eventually live under the sea?

Re:This begs the question: (2, Interesting)

mikael (484) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742940)

No, they just create new land using infilling. Create a concrete wall around the area you want, pump out the water, and fill the space with whatever you have available (garbage, dirt, sand, dredged up silt, blown up mountains). That gives you several levels of basements, plus land ready for the construction of airports, office blocks and shopping malls. And you solve coastal erosion at the same time.

Re:This begs the question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10742954)

No, it does not beg the question [worldwidewords.org] .

Re:This begs the question: (1)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743068)

Under the sea, under the sea, There'll be no accusations, just friendly crustaceans Under the sea!

Robo-take over *Beep* (4, Funny)

slumpy (304072) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742873)

There seems to be an awful lot of articles on robots lately. I'm beginning to worry the slashdot offices were taken over by shotgun wielding robots who have just gained underwater capabilities. Due to the robots iron grasp, this is the only way the editors can commmunicate to us their need for help against them.

Re:Robo-take over *Beep* (1)

Scott7477 (785439) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743191)

I for one welcome our new robotic overlords....

Underwater Robots into Autonomous Weapons (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10742881)

These underwater robots would be ideal as weapons of war in the Persian gulf. You could pack some nuclear explosives in them and also put some wheels on them so that they can move on land, effectively being amphibious.

A possible scenario is the following. Iran builds the nuclear weapons that it has, so often, threatened to do.

We then launch about 100 of these underwater robots off the coast of the Arabian peninsula. The bots submerge and head for Iran. After about 1 week, they reach their destination and appear at the Iranian ports under cover of the night. The wheels activate, and the bots speed for the nuclear weapons facilities. 10 bots speed for the Tehran. Within 24 hours, the bots denote, turning Iran into a smoldering cesspool of radioactivity.

The global war on terror is be won.

Re:Underwater Robots into Autonomous Weapons (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10742898)

unfortunately most iranians and afghanis, and pakistains, and uzbecks, and azeris, and georgians...would die soon thereafter but they are acceptable losses since all terrorists come fro iran and tim mcvey is really iranian i knwo i have the dna work to prove it.

Nice troll fucko

Re:Underwater Robots into Autonomous Weapons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10742941)

Wow, you guys never get over anything do ya? It must suck to be a liberal.....

the next great flood (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10742887)

we should tell pres. bush that we need these for the next great flood we can add places for humans and other licving organsimis we can make a train if them for two of each species the bush's can be the the leaders of the next stage of development. And in the futre instead of Noah people will talk about's Bush's train. Forget that he ignores research from many contries and scintist and bi-partisan scince groups on global warming.

Re:teh neckst grate flud (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10743001)

after that we should tell all the anomynous cowards to login and to lern how two spel and that a period is what you use when you finish a thot about pres. bush who may or may not be a creationist but he isnt a scintist anyway hes the president so get off his back all ready.

While I'm trolling, "global warming" is the montra of the ecoterrorists. They need to have something to shout about to make themselves feel important, noble, and good. They have taken as article of Faith that Man, in his evil, is causing the Earth to get warmer. Never mind that we occupy less than a third of the Earth's surface, and not all of that, and the bottom hundred feet or so of its hundred-mile thick atmosphere.

CUAUV (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10742892)

cornell university has a student team [cuauv.org] that competes in the same AUVSI competition, and has a pretty sweet vehicle. designed almost exclusively by engineering undergrads, with no faculty intervention, and a lot of the components and boards are designed in-house. cool sensors, cool computers, and it all runs gentoo!

Really quite amazing (4, Interesting)

anethema (99553) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742893)

As a studying EE stuff like this facinates me.

Just uses a small Li Ion battery to change its relative density to float or sink..it jsut does this at 45 degrees to make forward progress. No prop or anything.

Stuff like this is NOT easy to do, although quite a bit easier that a land vehicle that has to navigate an obstacle course at speed. But to have these little guys make long distance treks MULTIPLE times while doing very well to keep its line and make measurements while its going it..VERY good engineering for the amount of money spent.

I wonder if they ever have a problem with ocean life? Plenty of larger fish and sharks in that water..would be kind of funny/sad if one got eaten.

They say in the webpage about it that one got ran over by a surface vehicle and still completed it run, since it has an antenna in each wing and only one wing was damaged.

I say again, this is great engineering.

Re:Really quite amazing (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743311)

How does it avoid moving hugely off course due to currents and wave action if all it does is rise and fall in a controlld manner?

Re:Really quite amazing (1)

OctaneZ (73357) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743365)

It compares it's dead reckoning position (where it thinks it should be) with where it actually came up (according to the GPS), then adjusts the pitch and roll through the dive to compensate. It's not too smart about stearing across currents yet, but that's coming.

Re:Really quite amazing (1)

anethema (99553) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743554)

Exactly.

And if you look at the maps of its movements the answer becomes pretty aparent.

Look here [ucsd.edu]

Re:Really quite amazing (1)

OctaneZ (73357) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743728)

You sure that map isn't of current velocity?

Cool! (1)

Nomeko (784750) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742900)

That is just so cool, I have nothing more to say. I didn't even imagine that such a simple construction could travel such distances.

I got how it propelled forward, but how is it possible to change directions perpendicular to it's axis of motion (left and right). Does it rotate so that it's wings arent at the same level? Did anyone get that part?

Interesting to see how it struggeled through the Gulf Stream which basicly makes it possible to live in Norway. Do you think they'll tell if they loose contact with one? In case, I'll be prepared to fish out my new gadget as it flows by.

american crap (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10742902)

blah blah
fuck you

But do they have underwater shotguns? (2, Funny)

alakon (657771) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742903)

But do they have underwater shotguns?

Re:But do they have underwater shotguns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10742930)

Not if they're using the halflife engine.

Re:But do they have underwater shotguns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10742934)

No, but they do have frikken lasers attached to their heads if that helps you at all.

Re:But do they have underwater shotguns? (1)

renimar (173721) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742936)

Shotguns would probably suck underwater. Harpoons!

Re:But do they have underwater shotguns? (1)

twoslice (457793) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742948)

Yes but it they were pretty much useless until some enterprising individual attached a flashlight to them with some duct tape....

These should be banned (0)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742904)

...before the terrorists learn about them.

Oops, too late.

Coming soon to a hastily evacuated seaport near you.

Mod parent up (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742932)

A few hundred of these, and oil transport in supertankers will no longer be feasible.

We have a problem coming up.

Re:Mod parent up (2, Insightful)

mrcoffee (135219) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743165)

"A few hundred of these, and oil transport in supertankers will no longer be feasible."

This is not economically feasible for terrorists by any stretch of the imagination. I attended the 2004 AUVSI underwater competition and while Brigham Young's appearance and attempt was commendable, the fact is that their $600 vehicle couldn't even travel in a straight line for the 15 feet needed to pass through the velidation gate. They took last place overall, with the exception of a team that was disqualified. Now, I don't want it to seem like I'm disparaging them, they had the smallest budget of any team in attendence and the smallest team as well. Brigham Young probably learned a great deal by attending the competition and will probably come back a lot stronger next year.

The fact is, to really have a functional AUV you must be prepared to spend $50k and probably a lot more than that if you want any sort of long duration capability. Why bother creating fleet of AUVs for terrorism when you can just make a suicide boat-bomb that would pack a much bigger punch.

The theat of terrorism is greatly exagerated and sensationalized in nearly every aspect of our daily lives these days. It's quite unfortunate.

Re:Mod parent up (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743432)

Why bother creating fleet of AUVs for terrorism when you can just make a suicide boat-bomb that would pack a much bigger punch?

Because these AUVs are underwater and hard to detect and evade. They're a cross between a torpedo and a drift mine.

This is an old idea, first expressed in the 1942 story, "The Wabbler", by Murray Leinster.

Re:Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10743614)

What about the human torpedos developed by the Italians, British and Japanese during WW2? See http://web.ukonline.co.uk/chalcraft/sm/chariots.ht ml for more info.

Re:Mod parent up (1)

TFGeditor (737839) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743710)

"The theat of terrorism is greatly exagerated and sensationalized in nearly every aspect of our daily lives these days. It's quite unfortunate."

Why do I suspect you do not live in a country hard-hit by terrorists?

Re:These should be banned (1)

kilo242 (774305) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742956)

They only move at about .5 knots, and so wouldn't make good underwater cruise missiles, nor would they be hard to track with any good system as they slowly lumber into the field of view.

Re:These should be banned (2, Insightful)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743035)

If there were hundreds of them, how would you know which ones were dangerous and which were decoys?

Since they don't need to surface, they could hug the bottom of the ocean floor, coming to land somewhere convenient to detonate a payload.

Or they could attach themselves to the sides of ships and wait to stop moving (probably close to a harbor).

Re:These should be banned (2, Interesting)

mrcoffee (135219) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743069)

Actually,

AUVs are on the other side in the "war on terror". A major application for AUVs is harbor security. Think about a fleet of fully autonomous vehicles assigned to a harbor. The vehicles, with a diverse sensor suite composed of vision and sonar subsystems, patrol the harbor looking for unusual activity. When a ship enters the harbor a few vehicles will swarm it and scan the hull. They can be equipped with sensors like giger counters to detect suspicious cargo.

This system would also be self-maintaining. These AUVs could autonomously dock themselves to recharge their batteries when low, or to report log data to an oversight system which would combine all the log data from the vehicles and use more computationally involved algorithms to analyse the state of operations of the harbor. If anything was suspicious looking, the video/sonar logs can be looked at by humans who would have the final call in any real actions.

Picture? (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742910)

So where's a picture of this awesome sounding glider?

Re:Picture? (1)

OctaneZ (73357) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743373)

The glider Photo Gallery [whoi.edu]

Pool (2, Interesting)

3770 (560838) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742920)


Man!

Only $600 for one of these puppies. I'm getting one, underwater camera and all, for the local university pool.

Re:Pool (1)

Starcub (527362) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743586)

Only $600 for one of these puppies.

That's 600 dollars in India, which is equivalent to about 6,000,000 dollars in the US. Then of course, if you bang it up in a crash, then you'll have to rebuild it. You'll have to build it better, stronger, and faster than it was before. And who knows how much that will cost then.

But the fuel milage sucks (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10742924)

"Refueling cost ~ $3000"

And we thought oil was expensive?!?!

AutoCAD (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742935)


AutoCAD had been sponsoring undersea explororation for quite some time.

AutoCAD is the big gorilla in the CAD world, but we never see anyone complaining about their domination.

Is this because nobody knows what CAD is all about?

Re:AutoCAD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10743000)

Nobody compains because Autocad doesn't dominate in any aspect of CAD. That particular product's relevance has been waning for about ten years now because CAD is too important to have one program act as a catch-all like it used to be. It is no longer even a major app in residential architecture which used to be one of its major bread and butter uses. As for modeling and simulations, you'd have to be kidding to think Autocad was a major force in this day and age. In fact, Autodesk doesn't even recommend most designers use Autocad. For 3D modeling they actually recommend 3DStudio, even for engineers.

Re:AutoCAD (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743233)


Autocad doesn't dominate in any aspect of CAD

AC, did you mis-type something? Or maybe even fuck up a lot?

At last check, Autodesk was the 4th largest software company in the world. Please correct me. Noone ever bitches about ACAD's monopoly, why is this?

Re:AutoCAD (1)

Kaboom13 (235759) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743071)

AutoCad is the biggest, but it has plenty of competition. AutoCad is on top because it's software is very good at what it does, and the huge base of drafters trained to use it. AutoDesk (the maker of AutoCad) has sponsored lots of robotics and educational things, especially the FIRST robotics competition. People don't complain about the market leader when they deserve the position.

The design is astounding (4, Insightful)

asadodetira (664509) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742959)

Some features of this design are truly genius..
  • The machine requires little energy to operate, the pump only runs every once in a while to change its density
  • The battery packs are used as counterweights to steer the vehicle
    Talk about clever design, this is like the Burt Rutan of underwater. I wonder if we'll see new developments on this technology, like submarine tourism, the underwater X-prize or something like that.

Re:The design is astounding (3, Informative)

OctaneZ (73357) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743260)

The pump actually pumps vegetable oil from an internal bladder to an external one; this active pumping is required because we pull a vaccuum on the hull which holds the electonics and internal oil resevoir. The glider is then ballasted for ~1000m, so no energy unput is needed to reach the bootom depth, then after hitting the bottom, the pump turns on, increases the volume of the unit (the mass stays the same) thus decreasing the density, and we begin to float up, ascent is then contolled by draining and expanding the external bladders as neccessary to assure a constant gradual ascent to the surface.
At the surface we then rotate one of the battery packs 90 from center to aim the GPS receiver and IRIDIUM antenna which are embedded in the wings at the sky. really a neat design. The pitch of the vehicle is controlled by moving the second battery pack for and aft within the housing, to create the proper atittude.

Re:The design is astounding (1)

kylegordon (159137) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743600)

Agreed. I especially like how they rotate a battery pack in order to lift one wing out the water and use it as an antenna :-)

Academic AUV's (4, Interesting)

ROMOS (828813) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742970)

I feel compelled to point out the work that Cornell students are doing in AUV development. We have a student project team called CUAUV, http://www.cuauv.org/ [cuauv.org] . Our vehicle, in its fourth generation is capabile of extended deployments and real-world missions in deep water.

CUAUV showcases its work annually at the international AUV competition held at the Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems facility (SPAWAR) in San Diego. The competition is organized by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR). Cornell won the 2003 competition, placed second in 2004 and 2002, and is one of the most consistently innovative and successful teams to participate each year.

Although the competition provides an excellent framework for the development of our platform, we pride ourselves on our submarine's capability to perform a wide range of missions beyond the scope of the competition. A single trial in the competition is often as short as fifteen minutes, but our submarine can easily perform a six-hour continuous mission. We have taken great care to keep our vehicle platform robust and modular - competitive with the best commercial AUVs available today. Our vehicle serves as an advanced research platform, and we are continually looking to develop new partnerships within the research community.

Re:Academic AUV's (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10743119)

That's all great, but everyone knows that Cornell students are homos and lesbians!

+1, Insightful!

Re:Academic AUV's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10743339)

ah, you must go to Harvard

Re:Academic AUV's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10743170)

Very cool!!! How can my company get involved with this project- it seems like the type of student project we like to help out with.

Re:Academic AUV's (1)

ROMOS (828813) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743205)

Sure! Your support is essential to our success. If you wish to discuss sponsorship, or learn more about the Cornell AUV Group, please contact us by visiting our website at http://www.cuauv.org/ [cuauv.org] and clicking on sponsors.

Re:Academic AUV's (1)

RoboFreak (828841) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743558)

We at Brigham Young University-Hawaii are also looking to expand our AUV development horizons by cooperating with industry. We would be more than glad to have you involved. Please email us at as120@cs.byuh.edu for information. Our ideology is to develop lightweight and low-cost AUVs.

Smugglers would love this... (4, Insightful)

earthforce_1 (454968) | more than 9 years ago | (#10742996)

Just think, an autonomous drug smuggling robot sub that could drop its cargo if the coast guard gets uncomfortably close, then go back and retrieve it later. And even if it were captured or destroyed, there would be nobody on board to turn state's evidence against their boss. (Presumably it would automatically wipe its memory if tampered with) About the only way to catch the smugglers in the act would be to covertly track the robot to the rendezvous point.

In the vein of the shotgun toting robot, it might make an effective military weapon as well. A tiny, autonomous sub that could navigate a pre-programmed course and deliver a nuke, launch torpedoes and drop mines at a predesignated target. Sort of an underwater cruise missile or recon drone.

Re:Smugglers would love this... (2, Funny)

Saeger (456549) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743235)

I am intrigued by your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter (for $15,000,000 in cash). Please contact Escobar2005@gmail.com with more information about your "newsletter".

--

Re:Smugglers would love this... (1)

inmate (804874) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743448)

i did read something about this several years back, where drug smugglers attached submarine-type things to the keel of ocean freight carriers.

these things weren't much bigger than a bath-tub and had electromagnets powered by rotors using the forward movement of the carriers.

they would use the carrier as a huge receiver to pick up GPS signals, and at some pre-programmed location (near the destination port) would drop off and wait to be picked up.

quite bizzare but i believe they (are still???) successful.

guess the narcolumbians would love the newer version!

Re:Smugglers would love this... (1)

The Limp Devil (513137) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743613)

You misspelled "terrorists"

Re:Smugglers would love this... (1)

dabigpaybackski (772131) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743621)

Just think, an autonomous drug smuggling robot sub that could drop its cargo if the coast guard gets uncomfortably close, then go back and retrieve it later. And even if it were captured or destroyed, there would be nobody on board to turn state's evidence against their boss. (Presumably it would automatically wipe its memory if tampered with) About the only way to catch the smugglers in the act would be to covertly track the robot to the rendezvous point.

Hey man, anything that'll lower the price of cocaine is fine with me. (sniff)

the possibilities! (1)

to_kallon (778547) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743040)

just imagine a beowulf cluster of thes......
on a more serious note, these sound pretty cool. i know what i'm asking for for my next birthday....

Why its cheap (2, Insightful)

dj245 (732906) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743046)

This robot was designed with a budget of only about $600 and seems to be the cheapest AUV around.

Remember that with autonomous underwater vehicles you can throw away requirements for safety of the operator and equipment to keep the driver alive. Couple that with the philosiphy that you don't care how fast it goes as long as it does science and goes somewhere eventually, and you end up with a super cheap robot.

Re:Why its cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10743092)

I highly doubt an AUV developed for $600 actually works. Looking at the standings from their competition, they came in 2nd to last.

Re:Why its cheap (1)

RoboFreak (828841) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743604)

The AUV works perfectly and has almost all the sensor suites that advanced AUVs had at the competition. The AUV underperformed at the competition because of a controller failure that was suffered a day before the competition. Due to a very low-budget and no time left, the team of two was forced to salvage the robot, but still got it water worthy. Atleast it beat USC!! Being BYU-Hawaii's first forray into this area, it performed well enough, especially with no engineering support (BYU-Hawaii doesn't have an engineering department). Next year should be as cheap and better performance, we are looking for industry support as well. But just think, no engineers on the team. It was a cool effort.

Re:Why its cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10743640)

You still need to take into account some safety aspects, e.g. you must be careful to avoid hitting obstacles, like fish, boats, the shore etc.

What kind of attention does it attract? (3, Interesting)

buzban (227721) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743052)

Some of the comments here are along the same lines I was thinking...does one have to clear this sort of thing with homeland security or the coast guard? I didn't see anything to that effect on the main Spray site.
would be an interesting thing, though...looking at the shape and size of the thing, and considering that it makes a regular phone call via sattelite. Wow. that might be mistaken for something different altogether...

brigham young robot goes underwater (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10743056)

Yes, but does it convert gentiles?

Re:brigham young robot goes underwater (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10743197)

No, but at least they can be baptized without harm.

ok, be honest... (1)

terradyn (242947) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743074)

now who else read that as "Underwear Robots for Everyone"?

Re:ok, be honest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10743099)

"Robots in your underwear"?

Recharging (1)

marktaw.com (816752) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743076)

I wonder if you could attach a solar panel for when it surfaces, or a propeller that, instead of pushing it foward, recharges the battery as it spins, and send one of these things across the ocean, maybe with a little camera and light mounted on it to take pictures as it goes. That would be a lot of fun. Just set it in the ocean and see how long it can go.

Re:Recharging (1)

asadodetira (664509) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743173)

Solar panel idea = good.
Propeller = not good
The propeller idea sounds a little bit like a perpetual motion machine, which we know it's thermodinamically incorrect.
However, the original idea of the spray was somewhat resembling a "perpetual mobile". The initial design had in mind taking advantage of the temperature differences in the sea to produce the density change, and theoretically no energy source was needed in the glider, It will take it from the environment. Apparently that didn't quite work as expected, so they use batteries. But they last long.

Re:Recharging (1)

OctaneZ (73357) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743307)

The solar panel wouldn't work that well, there are kilos of lithium batteries in there. You want to avoid being on the surface as much as possible, for the simple reason is, that's where other "stuff" is. the likelyhood of damage at the surface is FAR greater than at depth, save attack by the squid from 20,000 leagues. It's also hard enough to get a GPS fix because of the roughness of the seas, let alone try stay there long enough to get a recharge.

Done first my a MA Senator! (2, Funny)

dbretton (242493) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743078)

Ted Kennedy did this first quite some time ago [saturatedpratt.com] , but I believe his vehicle was still manned.

Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10743176)

At first glance I thought it read "Underwear robots for everyone". My initial reaction was "WTF?!?!?"

In related news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10743179)

The LDS church announces that it is willing to baptize robots that openly proclaim the Mormon faith...

Re:In related news (1)

chronicon (625367) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743222)

Is it an obligatory (troll) to post facetious remarks regarding the LDS any time BYU is mentioned on Slashdot? Just curious because there seems to be a trend. Maybe we should consult Zogby for a poll...

Why is the oil sac on the back? (1)

kanweg (771128) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743184)

Can someone explain why the sac is on the back of the device? One would expect that if the volume is increased, the back wants to rise.

Bert

Re:Why is the oil sac on the back? (3, Informative)

OctaneZ (73357) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743323)

The oil sac basically allows you to change the volume of the glider without changing the mass, by pumping the oil (think hydraulic/vegetable rather than petroleum) into the external bladder you effectively decrease the density of the instrument allowing it to rise. The pitch of the device can be controlled by moving one of the two battery packs for and aft to maintain whatever attitude is needed to create "lift" from the wings.

More Details (5, Informative)

OctaneZ (73357) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743234)

This was actually our third attempt to make it from Nantucket to Bermuda, the first two launches unfortunately ran into technical problems very early into the mission.

You can see the data it sent back over the IRIDIUM phone network every seven hours at these pages:
WHOI Instument page about the SPRAY glider [whoi.edu]
Our real-time plots page [whoi.edu]

Make sure you check out the plot of velocities when it got caught in the gulf stream [whoi.edu]

Also particularly interesting are the Continuous Temperature plot [whoi.edu]
and the Continuous Salinity (salt content) profile. [whoi.edu]

And you can also view the path it took to Bermuda [whoi.edu]

We hope to launch it again early next year, possibly for a roundtrip around Bermuda.

Press Release on the SPRAY glider (3, Informative)

OctaneZ (73357) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743273)

There is actually an informative and readable press release [whoi.edu] about the glider in general and the mission it just finished.

Introducing the Cruise Torpedo (3, Interesting)

Mulletproof (513805) | more than 9 years ago | (#10743679)

Underwater autonomous submarines? We're not talking about a large jump to underwater cruise missiles here. Or autonomous attack submarines like the Predator drone. WOuldn't be too hard to program a few to sneak into enemy waters and hunt down shipping at random or launch bulk cruise torpedo strike from hald way around the world to destroy enemy ports and warships.

Frankly, I'm still waiting for the Catamaran Aircraft Carrier.
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