Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Researchers develop marine robot for surveillance

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Researchers at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Mandi and Palakkad have developed a marine robot that can cater to real-time problems and reduce maintenance cost and death risk for underwater operation scenarios.
The research which was partially funded by the Naval Research Board (NRB) of Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has been published in two journals– Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems, and Ocean Engineering.
The state-of-the-art robot has been developed for meticulous underwater monitoring and inspections, promising heightened efficiency, minimised risks, and potential cost savings, the researchers said.
The Earth’s surface is covered approximately 71 per cent by water, with the oceans holding about 96.5 per cent of all the Earth’s water, where only a tiny percentage of the ocean floor and the submerged ecosystem is known to man.
“As understood from history, the ocean interior has been mainly observed using instruments lowered from research ships,” Jagadeesh Kadiyam, Assistant Professor, Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at IIT Mandi told.
Kadiyam, a co-author of the study, said typical ship cruises lasted a month or two, therefore making the detailed monitoring of oceans limited.
“It is often said that ocean variables do not wait for the ship to come for measurements,” he pointed out.
“This problem of under-sampling and the relatively high cost of these observation platforms demands technologies that could provide longer observation times at a lower cost through spatial and temporal density,” Kadiyam said.
“Similarly, infrastructure safety is a global concern with ageing dams and increased environmental stresses necessitating more advanced inspection methods. Traditional inspection approaches often involve human divers, which can be risky, time-consuming and expensive,” he said.
“Integrating marine robots into dam inspection procedures offers a safer, cost-effective, and technologically advanced solution,” he added.
Kadiyam explained that the recent open-water reservoir field trials signifies a considerable advancement in the maturity of underwater vehicle technology.
“Our research focuses on the prototype development and performance investigations of an underwater vehicle for intervention and inspection applications. A novel framework has been designed and implemented to cater to the various missions in the oceans and inland waters,” he said.

Several simulations and experimental outcomes have proven the system’s capabilities in the presence of external disturbances such as water currents and varying payloads, the professor said.
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