You may have seen a previous version of Carnegie Mellon University’s snake robot, but now it’s capable of swimming underwater, thanks to a modular robotics platform. This means that it will be able to inspect ships, submarines and infrastructure for damage. The Hardened Underwater Modular Robot Snake (HUMRS) was tested by a team from the Biorobotics Lab in the School of Computer Science’s Robotics Institute last month in the university’s pool. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.
Developed through a grant from the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute, this project aims to assist the Department of Defense with inspecting ships, submarines and other underwater infrastructure for damage or as part of routine maintenance. This is necessary because the military typically has limited options for inspecting areas like a ship’s hull, so the Navy must either send a team of divers to the ship’s location, wait until it returns to port to deploy the divers, or pull it into a dry dock. The HUMRS could allow engineers to inspect the ship at sea, thus immediately alerting the crew to critical damage or sending information about issues that may need attention back when the ship docks.
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We can go places that other robots cannot. It can snake around and squeeze into hard-to-reach underwater spaces,” said Howie Choset, the Kavčić-Moura Professor of Computer Science.