MIT’s Underwater Robot May Soon Patrol US Docks Looking For Contraband

September 28, 2014 10:07 PM

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These days when you think of pirates, the coast of Somalia, and kidnapping/extortion probably come to mind. There are certainly other forms of piracy, including music, movies & software, or more traditionally, smuggling. The trafficking of illicit goods, or of people into the United States, might see a steep decline if researchers at MIT have their way. A group at the school have developed a small, autonomous underwater robot that can patrol the water surrounding ports and scan ships for contraband.

The robot – roughly football shaped, with one flat side – can propel itself along the sides of a ship and use ultrasound to scan the hull for areas that contraband could be hidden. In most instances, the density or composition of the hull will change in areas used for smuggling. MIT’s robot is inexp...

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