How a Tuna-Shaped Robot Could be the Next Tool in the Fight Against Terrorism

The BIOSwimmer is an unmanned underwater vehicle designed to monitor U.S. ports and harbors.

CHARLESTON, S.C. – This past summer, Boston Engineering tested their tuna-shaped robotic spy at the Port of Charleston. Called the BIOSwimmer, the robot is being developed with funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The BIOSwimmer looks and acts like a real fish so it can blend in with surrounding sea life while its cameras inspect harbors, piers and the exteriors of vessels up close and in both deep and shallow waters, as reported by The Post and Courier.

“This next generation unmanned underwater vehicle could be leveraged widely by the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection to inspect ships and piers for contraband and other material,” says David Taylor, program manager for Homeland Security’s science and technology division.


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Taylor says the robot’s ability to twist and turn in limited spaces sets it apart from other remotely operated vehicles that can operate underwater.

The robot can inspect the interior voids of ships, such as flooded bilges and tanks, and hard to reach external areas, such as steerage, propulsion and sea chests.

It’s onboard computer is powered by a lithium-ion battery and can be programmed for specific missions or controlled remotely.

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Steven A. Karantzoulidis is the Web Editor for Security Sales & Integration. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in Communication and has a background in Film, A/V and Social Media.

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