Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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New "Sea Turtle" Robot to Study Shipwrecks

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sea-turtle-robotLONDON, ENGLAND—Estonian engineers have unveiled a new underwater robot, called U-CAT, designed specifically to operate inside shipwrecks. The robot is propelled by four flippers that mimic the locomotion of sea turtles."Conventional underwater robots use propellers for locomotion," explains Taavi Salumäe, a designer at the Tallinn University of Technology's Centre for Biorobotics."[The] fin propulsors of U-CAT can drive the robot in all directions without disturbing water and beating up silt from the bottom, which would decrease visibility inside the shipwreck” The robot was built as part of a European Union-funded research project called ARROWS that develops technology for use in underwater archaeology.