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Black Pearl AUV from MEC.
Black Pearl AUV from MEC.

Engineering students develop free-swimming Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

  • The 'Black Pearl' has been developed by students of Mahindra Ecole Centrale and can have a range of application from research and exploration to retrieving objects from water bodies.

NEW DELHI : In a strong statement of their engineering capabilities and creative aptitude, students of Mahindra Ecole Centrale (MEC) recently showcased an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) which is capable of not just transcending to appreciable depths but also of maneuvering itself with little or no human intervention.

Called 'Black Pearl', the AUV operates independently underwater and performs tasks autonomously. A free-swimming, untethered robot, it carries a lithium polymer battery and has a Logical 270 vertical camera and Raspberry Pi V2 horizontal camera for image capturing abilities. MEC claims that the Black Pearl is capable of executing instructions that have been hard coded into it, with high accuracy and with minimal error.

Developed at a cost of 3.70 lakh, MEC further states that in the upcoming months, the Black Pearl would be able enhanced to receive inputs from the sensors (Depth, Echosounder, Camera, etc.), process them, and based on the data, navigate its trajectory so that it can avoid obstacles, retrieve objects from the water floor and carry out dedicated missions. "“Our students continue to exhibit strong interests in R&D and creativity in building workable prototype devices and gadgets for different segments. Black Pearl is another such product where the students and their academic and research mentors worked tirelessly at our Centre for Robotics and created a robust Autonomous Underwater Vehicle," said Dr. Yajulu Medury, Director, MEC.

The Black Pearl, with its planned manipulator/robotic arm is currently a prototype but may have its application in a range of areas including marine science, commercial, civil and defence sectors.

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