They won’t be terribly fast – they’ll swim 18 metres per minute and crawl 30 metres per minute – and they’ll cost $18 million to develop, but aquatic robots like this might one day aid underwater search and rescue efforts.
South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs is dedicating a great deal of time and money to this project in order to have a small army of versatile robots ready to engage in rescue missions as well as underwater exploration. The idea is to have “precision camera and acoustic facilities” built into these robotic creatures and send them on their way.
There’s speculation that equipment like this could’ve made a difference when a frigate sank in the West Sea recently, but – as there’s no way to be certain about that – let’s just hope that it truly does help once put into service in 2012. [Korea Herald via Korea Times via Pop Sci]