U-CAT robot sea turtle

Some shipwrecks are too costly or dangerous for humans to explore, but many underwater robots are too disruptive and unwieldy to serve as substitutes. The Tallinn Institute of Technology's new U-CAT mapping robot solves that dilemma by imitating one of the ocean's more graceful creatures: the sea turtle. The small machine uses flippers to get around instead of propellers, preventing it from kicking up silt (which would obscure its camera) and letting it turn on a dime. It's also autonomous, which helps it venture deep into a wreck without worrying about cables. It's sure to have a big impact on underwater archaeology, and you can see it in person if you swing by the London Science Museum between November 28th and December 1st. However, It will eventually map shipwrecks in the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas as part of the EU's ARROWS Project, providing more detail than any diver could manage.

[Image credit: Tallin University of Technology, Flickr]

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Robot sea turtle will map shipwrecks that humans can't reach (video)