Engineers Give Underwater Robots Cognitive Capabilities

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American engineers from MIT are paving the way for more intelligent robots with cognitive capabilities. The new system, which was named Enterprise, is a navigation system that enables self-driving vehicles to watch over an area and make decisions on their own without guidance.

A look at research robots

The robot-making process requires a researcher to create scripts that define every movement the autonomous vehicle makes. Designing such robots is a long and tedious process, especially if the engineers have to coordinate machines to work in tandem. There are even “Doctor” and “Engineer” components that work to diagnose problems autonomously.

An engineer can give a robot a command to survey an area and physical directions and time restrictions to maintain a certain distance below the water surface. The tests concluded that AUVs with Mission Planning Systems jointly operate with other robots to stop collisions and scan environments.

How the robots will help enable scientists to conduct research

One of the system’s designers, Brian Williams, opened up about the project. He explained that the vehicles could plan their own missions. The robots could also execute and adapt missions without support from humans. The underwater robots work together as they zig-zag across the ocean floor as if they are going through an obstacle course. Williams and other MIT engineers worked together to design smart drones that go on missions without meticulous plans.

This opportunity is the first chance to demonstrate goal-directed autonomy in the deep sea. Underwater robots simplify the research process and free up scientists to concentrate on overall research strategy. It’s smart science that could save time and money. The underwater robots could also reduce the number of research team members on research cruises.

Williams added that you could send sea vessels with one autonomous vehicle; however, that doesn’t show a lot. This new technology could offer a brand new way to observe the ocean and oceanic life.

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