Aquatic Robots

Although there is an increasing Robot Fishinterest in the study of aquatic robots, there are only a few successfully built aquatic robots. This is because of the challenging environment they work and also because electricity and electronics essentially do not like water. Making a robot to work in water generally ends up in undesirable failures.   However if you are interested in building a robot to maneuver in a local pond or your swimming pool, then you are still in good hope given that building a robot to submerge less than 10mts is considerably easier. There are a few challenges you need to overcome before designing an aquatic robot.

The first challenge in creating an aquatic robot is to make all the electronics waterproof. There are many ways by which electronics can be made waterproof. Some of the basic ideas are listed below:

  1. Enclosing all the circuits and electronics in an air-tight container
  2. Enclosing the circuits in oil filled containers which resists water inflow
  3. Using hot-glue all over the circuits and then submerging them

Differential drive technique works best on these aquatic robots and driving force can be tails, fins, thrusters, wings, thrusters, paddles, paddle wheels, air pumps etc., based on your robot design.
Aquatic robots include robots that sail, submerge or crawl under water.

Robot boat
Robot boats float over water and are not designed to submerge in water. They can be either autonomous or remotely controlled. This is the easiest form of aquatic robot as it does not involve complex waterproofing of electronics as most of electronics can still stay away from water.

Swimming robots / Submarines
Have you ever seen a robot fish? These can be categorized as swimming robots. Swimming robots are fin driven although there are submarine versions which dive deep into water and propel themselves from one place to another using wings, propellers, etc. These underwater robots are generally controlled with little or no intelligence built inside them.

Underwater Crawling robots
Under water Crawling robots are marine version of land based robots. These robots either roll on wheels or walk under water; if waterproofing is taken care, these robots can be easily designed and built. The concept of land based robots still holds good for underwater crawling, rolling or walking robots.

Advantages and Disadvantages of aquatic robots

Some of the advantages of aquatic robots are:

With opportunities come challenges. Some of the major hindrances while building aquatic robots are:

Undiscovered challenges and unexpected guests should be handled meticulously :)

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