Artificial Fish Dives
Into Unknown Waters
Nature inspires a new tool to search for dangers in uncharted seas.
Domestic security officials aim to replace human divers with an autonomous underwater vehicle whose design is derived from nature: the tuna, one of the fastest and most maneuverable fish in the sea. The vehicle would be used primar-
ily to inspect ship hulls for contraband, saving divers
from hazardous trips into hard-to-reach areas below the
waterline where oil and other toxic chemicals are part
of the mix. Designers also envision the tuna-
modeled robot could also be used for search
and rescue missions.
The Biomimetic In-Oil Swimmer (BIO-
Swimmer) is an autonomous underwater vehicle
(AUV) being developed by Boston Engineering Cor-
poration’s Advanced Systems Group, in Waltham,
Massachusetts, for the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security (DHS). This tuna look-alike can be operated
either by remote control with a tethered cable or pre-
programmed to operate autonomously, according to
David Taylor, specialist, cargo security, Border and
Maritime Security Division, Science and Technology
Directorate, DHS, and program manager for the BIO-
The BIOSwimmer mimics the form and function of the tuna, one of the most agile and speedy fish in the sea.
38 SIGNAL, AUGUST 2013 | www.afcea.org/signal