3D Printed 'squid-inspired' underwater drone finds new depths

  • Nimish Sany
  • 27 October , 2016

With the 3D printed Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) for deep sea explorations, it’s safe to say that 3D printing has found new depths. In a research paper published in Marine Technology Society Journal, Professor Kamran Mohseni and his team from the University of Florida showcases details of the 3D printed AUV inspired from the propulsion technique of squids. The AUV works as an automatic underwater drone and is one among a group other autonomous vehicles, which are also detailed in the paper titled ‘A Compact Autonomous Underwater Vehicle with Cephalopod-Inspired Propulsion. ‘The squid-inspired prototype is a previous design of the research term which is now reborn through 3D printing.

schematic representation of cephalophod

Image: University of Florida

The paper names each vehicle of the group ‘cephalobot’. Other vehicles in the group, such as, KRAKEN (Kinematically Roving Autonomously Kontrolled Electro-Nautic) and CALAMAR-E use propellers in the rear to drive under water while prototypes such as the 2011 Cephalobot employs squid-thrusters at the sides to propel the vehicle’s motion, the benefits of which are explained in the paper:

“The novel thrusters enable the vehicle to be fully actuated in horizontal plane motions, without sacrificing the low-forward-drag, slender vehicle profile.”

AUVs using squid thruster are capable of taking 90-degree turns and rotating 360 degrees. Like Nemo’s Nautilus which controls its depth in the ocean by flooding its tanks underneath, the AUV has a built-in buoyancy system.


Nimish Sany: I bleed my thoughts on paper. And if I cant find a paper, blogs serve the purpose just fine.

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