Boston Engineering in collaboration with the U.S. Navy is developing a ‘tuna fish’, their new unmanned underwater vehicle. Developers envision that the fish would autonomously navigate across the sea for fetching information including surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
The project has been named Project Silent Nemo that comes from Disney’s famous movie, Finding Nemo, where Nemo was the subject of search but in here, Nemo will do the finding.
The unmanned underwater vehicle weighs around 100-pound while it’s length is about 5 feet. As a product of biomimicry, the artificial tuna fish propels itself with the help of wagging its tail. This motion has been added to give it a feel of natural swimming than the conventional torpedo-shaped drones said its developers.
Lademan, the project lead said that the mechanics of the device is reverse engineering of the swimming locomotion of tuna fish. Since it is the only aquatic animal that uses only half of its body for moving forward, signifying that the focus of UUV developers would be on the second half of the section for considering the locomotion. Seems easy but the technology has many technical challenges to pass through.
The concept is under development but the developers are positive about its groundbreaking propulsion technology. So far, the project has cost $1 million and it is expected to be operational by 2015.
Source: [Daily Press], [Boston Engineering]