Robotics
Underwater Robot Can Search For Missing Black Boxes

Constant zeal of scientists for inventing robots,that can perform complex operations and various other functions paved the way for creation of many automated machines.With growing intellect and using latest techniques,many robots are being developed by the scientists to help mankind to ease the difficult works done by them.

Researchers are creating robots that are used in day-to-day life and in different fields like military,rescue operations,etc.So far,many amphibious robots,underwater robots,flying robots,robots that exhibit swarm behavior etc were created which are helpful in different areas.

Now,European researchers have demonstrated a new underwater robot that can recover objects such as aircraft black boxes from unexplored seabeds.

Usually,a black box is a name used to refer a collection of several different recording devices used in transportation like the flight recorders (flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder) in aircraft’s, the event recorder in railway locomotives, and other recording devices in various vehicles etc.

2n-I-AUVProject Trident,which includes researchers from Spain, Italy, Portugal and the UK developed the I-AUV(autonomous underwater vehicle for intervention). It combines an ability to map and navigate the ocean floor with a complex robotic arm.

Partners involved in the project are-spin-off from the University of Genoa called Graal Tech that developed the arm mechatronics, a team from the University of Bologna that worked on the robotic right hand, and a group from the University of Girona that built the vehicle itself.

“It is based on a multipurpose system that incorporates a two-stage strategy”, said project coordinator Prof Pedro Sanz of the Universitat Jaume I of Castellón in Spain.

The working of this vehicle invovles a series of steps.At first,the system is released into water.It builds a visual map of the seabed by scanning the area of interest where the goal of the intervention is.

In the next step,the system rises to the surface and before launching it back into the water,the system has to be told which is the goal of the interference and required action that has to be done upon it.Thus,in this stage,the operation is executed.

In-order to overcome adverse underwater conditions,researchers worked hard to develop more robust and efficient control algorithms.The key challenge,however,was to invent a more complex and multipurpose robot.

Trident I-AUV was most recently tested in Port of Sóller in Mallorca in October 2012.With the help of visual free floating manipulation and using other degrees of freedom of the vehicle itself,the test was successful in recovering the object underneath the water that was planned to get restored.

The new project expands and exceeds the expectations of the former RAUVI project in the integration and improvement of the mechatronics of I-AUV. Thus, the vehicle has a new and more powerful arm, and the new right hand is much more complex and multipurpose.The purpose of the project was to explore ways for the generic problem of “search and recovery” on the seabed in an autonomous way.

This autonomous intervention system also open up new possibilities and offers potential applications in the field of underwater archaeology, oceanography and offshore platforms for oil and gas extraction.

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