Domestic security officers aim to not only replace human divers with an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), but one whose design is derived from nature: the tuna, one of the fastest and most maneuverable fish in the sea. The Biomimetic In-Oil Swimmer (BIO-Swimmer) is such an AUV being developed by Boston Engineering Corporation’s Advanced Systems Group in Waltham, MA, for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology (S&T) Directorate’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Tasks for the BIOSwimmer will include conducting ship hull inspections; performing search and rescue missions; and checking cargo holds that may have toxic fluids. Testing of a second prototype is expected to begin this fall at the Port of Houston. Tests will include in-water examinations of a variety of ship hulls in one of the busiest ports in the nation.
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