Blind Cave Fish Inspired Sensors Enable Efficient Navigation Of The AUVs
Scientists from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and MIT have imitated the lateral lines of the blind cave fish in a man-made system designed to allow AUVs (autonomous underwater vehicles) to navigate more efficiently. Conventional AUVs use cameras, sonar, or an underwater acoustic positioning system, though there’s no use of deploying cameras in murky water, sonar and acoustics are better, but too expensive and exhausting the AUV’s batteries. In comparison, the blind cave fish inspired sensors use little power and can be made for under US $100 per array, moreover they are not harmful to aquatic animals, cause they don’t produce audible sonar pinging noise. There are two versions of the sensor array available: the first one generates its own voltage via the flow of the water over the sensors, while the other one detects submerged objects even when the water flowing around them is barely moving. The arrays enable Nanyang’s AUVs to make 3D images of nearby objects, and to map their surroundings, if combined with a computer vision system. These sensors could also be applied on military submarines that are not likely to let the enemies know about their presence via sonar pings.