Five robotics fish are set to deploy to waters off the coast of Spain in 18-months time.
The robots were built as part of a three-year joint project by a team at Essex University, lead by Professor Huosheng Hu, and BMT Group, a British engineering consultancy company. Each robot costs nearly 30,000 USD ( 20,000 GBP).
At about five feet in length these robots certainly are not small, and boast a range of sensors used to detect pollutants in the water. The ‘fish’, designed to detect water pollution, can operate for only eight-hours using an on-board battery, but are otherwise autonomous.
The battery-supply appears to be a major limitation to these fishes effectiveness. Perhaps in future, these fish will become more autonomous and operate for longer periods of time “in the wild” by having power generation devices on-board. The robotic fish could surface, charge its battery using a solar panel, communicate with the research center, then resume its work.