Underwater robots? The South Korean Ministry of Transport has allocated funds amounting to approximately 18 million dollars, to be used for financing of a project aimed at development of a range of underwater robots, in various models, which hopefully could prove useful for underwater search operations or as a support for rescue of survivors in case of a shipwreck or a natural disaster.
What are underwater robots?
These robots should be capable of crawling on the sea bed, at a speed of approximately 30 meters per minute, or swimming at 20 meters per minute, and will be equipped with precision cameras and audio equipment, for visual and acoustic detection of any objects of interest on the sea bed or in the water; for example, they can be used for scientific research operations or for monitoring the health and conditions of the sea and its fauna, or to dive deep below the depth that can be reached by human divers in order to locate shipwrecks or other objects being searched.
This kind of robots can show its best in case of tragic events, when a prompt deployment of rescue operators is a vital factor, and use of technology as a support may save several lives, especially if the search takes place at nighttime or in waters with strong currents, where the search of a wrecked ship and its passengers may take long hours, if not entire days.
Development of these underwater robots should be carried out in two phases: the first one will be the development, before the end of 2012, of an automated vehicle capable of diving to a depth of 200 meters, while the second stage, to be completed within 2015, will be dedicated to upgrading the vehicle until it is able to reach depths of over 6 kilometers below sea level.