Marine creatures have much to teach us about how to move around underwater. They are, after all, the specialists in this field and have been doing it for a lot longer than humans!
Berlin-based subsea technology company EvoLogics has tapped into this wealth of natural expertise to develop prototype bionic autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), based on the movement of some of the world’s most agile and energy-efficient swimmers, particularly manta rays and penguins.
The company’s main business is solutions for underwater communication, positioning, navigation and monitoring, as well as an autonomous surface vehicle for survey and support operations.
So far their team, which consists of experts in underwater acoustics and bionic engineering, has developed three underwater robot prototypes – Manta Ray, Poggy and PingGuin – as part of multi-organizational research and development (R&D) programs.
Boosting the accuracy of AUV navigation
The EvoLogics team has used Nortek DVLs to boost the navigational accuracy of its AUVs – and the company even took inspiration from another Nortek instrument in the early stages of the development process.
“The story actually goes way back. In early 2013, one of our robotic team leads read an article about the AD2CP Glider built by Nortek. He was impressed with the small size and low power consumption of the AD2CP, so he got in touch with Nortek to find out more,” says Eugen Olenew, team lead at EvoLogics Mechanical Engineering.
“The Nortek DVL was just in development back then, and EvoLogics eventually became one of the early-bird users. We received four prototype OEM DVLs that we built housings for and integrated with our systems. Due to our long-standing relationship with Nortek, their DVLs have been the first and obvious choice for our AUV projects ever since,” he adds.