07 October
2008

One of the disadvantages of underwater (or amphibious) robotics is that there is a lot of logistic overhead to do real experiments. Just doing a smallish test in the pool requires not only that the whole pool be reserved (which is hard to accomplish), but that a fair bit of equipment as be transported and installed poolside.

In practice, this usually involves a team of 6 to 8 people, including swimmers (or divers) who accompany the robot and take photos underwater. Since we rarely get more than a couple of straight hours of pool time, this means we needs to minimize setup and take down times. When the robot is tethered, just managing the delicate fibre-optic cable is a hassle, and spooling it up wastes valuable time. Using a more robust cable would mean a heavier cable that would interfere with the robot's behavior and the measurements of its dynamics.

In the last year or so we have been doing lots more experiments without any tether. This has been a big win, and setup time (and logistic support) is now pretty limited. That's great, but it a small way I miss the bug party atmosphere of a big crew.


By Gregory Dudek at | Leave a comment |    
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