Planet Inspired Seafaring Robots
The environment and the fight against pollution of the seas has a precious ally WASS, the Finmeccanica company that takes its name from its founder Robert Whitehead, inventor of the torpedo, has expanded its sphere of business into the civil field. Being a leader at a global level in integrated underwater systems engineering (in the past two years alone, it has filed more than 30 patent applications), with a history of more than 100 years in the business, has allowed it to expand its capabilities into new and promising business areas. This is fully demonstrated by the “V-Fides” project, the first dual-use product developed by the Livorno company.
It is an initiative funded by the Tuscany Region, where WASS has the role of leader of a group comprising Kayser Italia, another Livorno company with a strong focus on research and development, and the Crim (Centro di Ingegneria Microelettronica/Center for Microelectronic Engineering) of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna di Pisa.
It is a small (but only in size) underwater robot, capable of analyzing the chemical-physical specificities of water at different depths, making it possible to map in detail, the level of mercury pollution in the seas in which it operates.
Behind the acronym that gives the name to the prototype, there lies a highly advanced wire-guided gearing, aimed at underwater detection, surveillance and exploration. This “small seafaring computer” is actually an extremely high-tech device that integrates complex systems. Without a doubt, its main characteristic will be the flexibility of its use. The underwater craft can in fact perform extremely varied tasks, ranging from the exploration of the seabed through on-board integrated acoustic and not-acoustic sensors to surveillance and data gathering for the security and maintenance of industrial installations. A great invention, which through the union of research and innovation, values the environment, recognizing its important role in the world. This work emphasises the importance of the resources and expertise of a large industrial Group, even in the development of research in the underwater robotics field, for civil applications aimed at the security of transport and the protection of marine fauna and flora.