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Underwater Robot Finds Second World War Bomber Plane on Seabed


The torpedo-shaped robot can scan the ocean floor for hours at a time.

Researchers at Harvey Mudd College have developed a novel autonomous underwater vehicle.

Credit: J. Wood

Harvey Mudd College researchers working on a long-term project to unite robotics and archaeology have developed a novel autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that can explore the sea floor looking for signs of wrecked ships.

The researchers also created a new artificial intelligence (AI) system to help better analyze the images of the sea bottom, as well as algorithms to improve the search and navigation of a target area.

The team initially plots a large area for the AUV to explore by beaming sound waves down from the water's surface, creating acoustic images of what lies beneath. The AI then ranks the most promising areas for further exploration, looking for indicators such as long shadows and sharp corners that could indicate a manmade object. The system afterwards plots a new course, maximized for the best chance of finding something of historical significance.

From New Scientist
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