Upgraded Underwater Robot Features New Design and Torpedo-Shooting Capabilities


An underwater robot. / Photo by: Paul Esparon via Wikimedia Commons


A team of students recently unveiled an updated version of FAT Auri, an underwater robot, to test its new underwater capabilities in a swimming pool.

FAT Auri or Fully Autonomous and Tested Auri is an entry of the Autonomous Robotic Vehicle Project at the University of Alberta. A group of students that developed the robot unit revealed its underwater skills back in 2015 and has placed the team in the 10th spot out of 44 teams in 2017. Now, the robo-sub has upgraded hardware and software capabilities.

“Every year we try to build a new robot … For us, it’s about the amount of progress we’ve made,” said Rumman Waqar, the lead of the project and an electrical engineering student at UofA.

The robot unit has a camera system, sensors, and an analytics tool to provide essential data to the developers. Even with the new design, FAT Auri’s physical body remains airtight and waterproof.

According to the team, the new version has an advanced, well-trained computer vision system that can detect pinpoint objects with a high accuracy rate. This vision system allows the group to see underwater in the absence of light. 

Aside from that, the machine is now equipped with the necessary tool to identify technical data like pressure, temperature, and voltage. In the previous model, the group was not able to see these kinds of information and had to speculate on the possible causes of technical problems.

The robot is now heading to an international competition and will showcase its torpedo-shooting capabilities while submerged underwater. The team is hoping to make it to the top five this year.

“It’s really cool to see how a lot of these technologies for artificial intelligence have become a reality and have been dynamically implemented within our own team,” said Jon Machinski, the business lead of the project.