Friday, December 19, 2014

Navy’s GhostSwimmer drone looks like a shark

The Navy’s new underwater GhostSwimmer drone is designed to look and swim like a real fish, with a dorsal fin that’s likely to instill fear in observant beachgoers.

The new machine, at five feet long and almost 100 pounds, is the size of an albacore tuna but looks more like a shark, especially from a distance. It’s part of an experiment to explore the possibilities of using biomimetic, unmanned, underwater vehicles, and the Navy announced it finished testing of the design last week.

The robot looks like a fish and moves like a fish, and, like other underwater vehicles, is difficult to spot even if you know to look for it. It uses its tail for propulsion and control and can run in water as shallow as 10 inches or dive down to 300 feet. It can be controlled remotely via a 500-foot tether, or swim independently, periodically returning to the surface to communicate.

The Ghost Swimmer could ultimately be used for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions, when it’s not assigned to more mundane tasks like inspecting the hulls of friendly ships.

For more of the Wired story:

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