Boffins from MIT are currently testing a new underwater robot known as the Odyssey IV, and this model is special since it is able to hover in place just like a helicopter even in depths of up to 6km below sea level. Sounds like an advancement that oil companies would love to get hold of, since it can be used to inspect footings of offshore oil platforms as well as used by marine archaeologists or oceanographers for specific missions. MIT’s press release has more to say about the Odyssey IV.
The new craft’s unique capabilities go beyond just looking at objects. Like a giant helicopter, this can pick up cargo underwater. Now, we can visit an oil well, pick up a sample and bring it back to shore. With the addition of a mechanical arm, the vessel will be able to do manipulations such as twisting a valve open or closed. Not only can the craft hover, it can move quickly, up to two meters per second going straight ahead. Both its speed and its ability to stop in place are achieved through the combined action of fins and thrusters on each side, and at the bow and stern of the two-meter-long craft.