What looks like a fish and swims like a fish might not be a fish after all.
The Navy’s latest addition to its arsenal, dubbed the “GhostSwimmer,” is a 5-feet-long, 100-pound Jaws look-alike and was developed by the chief of naval operations’ Rapid Innovation Cell (CRIC) project, Silent NEMO. Its purposes for now will be intelligence-gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance but in the long-term, it’s part of a much larger initiative by the military to explore what it can accomplish with biomimetic, unmanned underwater vehicles, WIRED reported.
“GhostSwimmer will allow the Navy to have success during more types of missions while keeping divers and sailors safe,” said Michael Rufo, director of Advanced Systems Group, which assisted with development.
Rufo said the GhostSwimmer was developed to mimic the swimming style of a large fish, noting how it “swims just like a fish does” by moving its tail fin back and forth.
As for its versatility, it can swim in depths of just 10 inches or 300 feet. It can swim on its own or be controlled remotely from a laptop that transmits data to the machine using a tether. But while the unmanned robot can stay underwater for extended periods of time while being controlled, it will need to return to the surface occasionally while swimming on its own in order to gather the data it needs to operate.
The Navy completed testing on the GhostSwimmer at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story (JEBLC-FS) on Thursday but it isn’t clear when the machine will be deployed.
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