GhostSwimmer is the latest in a series of science-fiction-turned-reality projects developed by the Rapid Innovation Cell (CRIC) project, Silent NEMO.
Silent NEMO is an experiment that explores the possible uses for biomimetic, unmanned underwater vehicles in the fleet. Boston Engineering's tuna-sized device has been gathering data at JEBLC-FS on tides, varied currents, wakes, and weather conditions for the development of future tasks.
The GhostSwimmer was developed to resemble the shape and mimic the swimming style of a large fish. At a length of approximately 5 feet and a weight of nearly 100 pounds, the GhostSwimmer vehicle can operate in water depths ranging from 10 inches to 300 feet.
It swims just as a fish does by oscillating its tail fin back and forth. The unit is a combination of unmanned systems engineering and unique propulsion and control capabilities. Its bio-mimicry provides additional security during low visibility intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions and friendly hull inspections, while quieter than propeller driven craft of the same size, according to Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC).
The robot is capable of operating autonomously for extended periods due to its long-lasting battery, but it can also be controlled via laptop with a 500-foot tether. The tether is long enough to transmit information while inspecting a ship's hull, for example, but if operating independently (without a tether) the robot will have to periodically be brought to the surface to download its data.
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