Artificial Intelligence: Quadroin, A Next-Gen Bionic AUV For Monitoring Ocean Eddies

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These vehicles look similar to penguins and possess their underwater swimming skills.

Scientists have long tussled with the problem of unlocking information from ocean eddies, small ocean currents that have an immense influence on the Earth’s climate and on animals and plants in the seas. They are also responsible for approximately half of all phytoplankton production. But its extremely difficult to study or measure them due to their short life and small, erratic sizes. Until now. (The Guardian)

A robo-penguin dubbed Quadroin

Burkard Baschek developed the Quadroin AUV while head of Germany’s Institute of Coastal Ocean Dynamics at the Helmholtz Centre Hereon in Geesthacht. He was forced to devise a more elegant solution after he lost valuable equipment in the Pacific Ocean – sensors attached to a rope and towed by a ship to track ocean eddies.

The method was risky and the apparatus often snagged on rocks, containers or other such items.

Rudolf Bannasch and his team at the Berlin-based company EvoLogics solved the problem for Baschek. They developed a penguin-like device – an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that was 3D-printed and driven by four propellors to move underwater at a speed of eight knots, or about 9 mph. The 25kg UAV can dive down to depths of 150 meters and avoid obstructions in its path.

The Quadroin carries sensors to communicate their data to an adjacent AUV or to the research ship.

Each Quadroin costs about €80,000 (£69,000), but total loss is unlikely – in case of a system failure the device floats to the surface.

Soon the UAVs would be equipped with AI for on-the-spot decision-making depending on the data thet are collecting.

That would also enable them to work the ocean in swarms and collect data on an ocean eddy quickly before it expires.

Related Story: AI For Deeper Insight Into The Mysterious Narwhals

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