Researchers wanting to explore shipwrecks on the ocean floor will soon have a new tool: a robot turtle.
The u-CAT design is based on sea turtles. It has four flippers and can swim forward and backward, up and down and turn on the spot in all directions. Manoeuvrability is key in tight spaces, such as shipwrecks, the researchers said.
"Biomimetic robots, robots based on animals and plants, is an increasing trend in robotics where we try to overcome the technological bottlenecks by looking at alternative technical solutions provided by nature," researcher Maarja Kruusmaa said in a press release.
Researchers at Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia said underwater robots currently being used by the oil and gas and defence industries are too big and expensive for exploring wrecks. They also tend to kick up silt in the water, which reduces visibility.