IIT Kharagpur Students Developing Underwater Robots

IIT Kharagpur Students Developing Underwater Robots

Students at IIT Kharagpur are working on an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), which is more intelligent than drones and can perform assigned tasks underwater like searching for debris of a flight crashed in the sea.

At the Centre for Robotics, students have already developed 'Kraken 3.0', a prototype AUV which can go as deep as 10 metres in a pool of water.

"We pre-program it so that it can do specifically assigned tasks like underwater surveying, identifying lost objects or debris, picking them up, etc. It can also be used for conducting repairs under the hull of a ship," Abhay Kumar, who is leading the team of students, told PTI.

Armed with strong censors and cameras to detect its surroundings, the 1.3-metre-long underwater robot is a six-thruster model which can rotate itself in five directions.

Drones can't be used underwater because their wireless technologies do not work inside water.

"Once an AUV is under water it has to take its own decisions. Therefore it has a higher level of intelligence than drones. A powerful onboard computer is part of the machine," Kumar said.

The robots are also programmed to handle emergencies on their own.

"It may face obstacles under the water and so it is programmed how to act in case of an emergency," the fourth-year undergraduate student of Ocean Engineering and Naval Architecture department said.

Even in the case of the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 which went missing last year in the Indian Ocean, AUVs were assigned to locate the debris inside the sea.


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