E MSK Corporation, working with Kyushu University Institute of Applied Mechanics, and Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding, have developed an autonomous underwater robot called Boomerang. The cordless robot measures water temperature, environmental salinity, and depth. The control algorithms were developed by Associate Professor Nakamura at Kyushu University, the control circuit and programming were handled by MSK, while Mitsui Engineering made the outer hull. Six trials have already been conducted over the project’s four year development where the robot collected data from a depth of 20m (65′) to 40m (131′).
The Boomerang’s UFO disc measures 1.9m (6′) in diameter and houses the central data storage device, vehicle control, emergency flotation systems, and sensors. The center of gravity can be moved in four directions to affect the robot’s buoyancy. It takes only about 3 minutes to descend 80m. The robot rises to the surface and its position can be tracked via GPS for easy retrieval as it uploads the collected data via wireless data transmission. Eventually, the team would like to commercialize the platform which could make valuable social contributions.