Researchers at the National University of Singapore have created the MantaDroid robot, which is designed for underwater observation and research of marine biodiversity.
MantaDroid Flexible Finned Underwater Robot
Manta form it was not chosen by chance, it better disguises the robot in the aquatic environment. Manta rays are the genus of the largest stingrays, which are the only vertebrates to have three pairs of functioning limbs. The pectoral fins of the mantas fuse with the head, forming a rhomboid disc, the width of which is greater than the length, and the anterior part of the pectoral fins is transformed into the so-called head fins. They swim by flapping their pectoral fins like wings. In the open sea, mantas move at a constant speed in a straight line, and at the coast they lazily circle on the surface of the water.
"Manta rays are one of the most graceful and skillful swimmers that exist in nature," said the university's research group led by professors. Chew Chee Meng and Yeo Khoon Seng.
“Unlike most underwater species, mantas have a unique propulsion mechanism that allows them to travel around the world in rough seas, flapping their pectoral fins with ease. These distinctive features have generated a lot of interest in understanding the science behind the mechanism and how to incorporate such mechanisms into autonomous underwater vehicles. ”
MantaDroid weighs only 0.7 kg, is 63 cm wide, 35 cm long, and is capable of swimming at 0.7 m per second for 10 hours. The robot practically does not stand out from marine life under water, and thus is an alternative to conventional underwater vehicles that are currently used.
Professor Chew Chee Meng from the National University of Singapore
MantaDroid functions thanks to flexible pectoral fins made of PVC sheets. They are used in place of the propeller motors used in conventional vehicles and have the potential to operate over a wider range. These fins are attached to a flat and wide body, completing the imitation of a real manta ray. The body contains a number of sensors and can be used for a variety of purposes such as studying marine biodiversity, measuring hydrographic data, and performing prospecting operations.
“Unlike other underwater robots, which replicate the kinematics of rays using multi-engine motors to achieve proactive action in all fins, MantaDroid powered by only one electric motor on each fin. We then allow the passive flexibility of the fins to naturally interact with the hydrodynamics of the water to stimulate subsequent movements, ”says the professor. Chew Chee Meng.
The MantaDroid was designed and built over a two-year period as the team conducted in-depth hydrodynamic research and many experiments, including testing 40 different fin variants.
The past few years have brought about significant changes in the design and technology of unmanned aerial vehicles. Chinese manufacturer Ehang introduced the world's first passenger drone, and the online store Amazon announced drone delivery service.
Amazon Delivery Drone - Prime Air
Drones are increasingly being used in all areas and are already more functional, and not just as a tool for photography and filmmaking. For example, in architecture, they have already begun to transform the way buildings are designed. The transportation industry is also exploring ways to use drones. Land rover recently launched a vehicle Discoverywhich uses the drone for search and rescue operations, while Bmw showed a concept car that is able to land a drone on a special platform while the car is moving.
Land Rover Discovery Drone
BMW Concept Car Drone
- Saildrone: Sailing drones displace research vessels
- Autonomous vessel C-Worker 7 - the first drone registered under the British flag
- Aston Martin has developed a Project Neptune submarine
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