Underwater Swarm Takes Cooperative Robots Undersea


NOVEMBER 08, 2011 | ALEX ZIRBEL

Roboclub's Underwater Swarm project is getting off the ground! Building a robot that can navigate underwater is a daunting enough task - building a group which can use their collective knowledge to solve problems is a huge challenge.

But under new leadership from Sam Dyment, Underwater Swarm is quickly making plans and prototypes. Here's a nice new render, and we're looking out for more in the weeks to come!

The goal of the project is to create a group of small (from 3" to 9"), relatively cheap, underwater robots that allow underwater tasks without the use of existing large and expensive underwater robots. Each robot will be autonomously controlled and will use Swarm Intelligence to share tasks and information among other robots and potentially a home base. The applications of this project can include mapping, imaging, environmental monitoring, surveillance, and exploration.

The timeline is first to develop communication devices that can effectively transfer and receive data wirelessly underwater. The robot will then be designed and built around this research. After the first robot, other robots will be built and the code for the operation of the robots and swarm intelligence will be developed. Hence, Underwater Swarm's first goal will be only to focus on researching an effective way to communicate wirelessly underwater.

At the same time, we'll be developing waterproof motors and ballast systems. These technologies will be tested thoroughly before they are implemented.

The goal for this semester is to have the research completed so that we can build a prototype in the spring semester.