CU students design underwater drones

BOULDER, Colo. — Researchers and students from the University of Colorado Denver and University of Colorado Boulder are competing in a subterranean challenge by building underwater drones.

It’s all thanks to a $4.15 million grant the group received allowing them to design and create drones that will be able to search far off places such as tunnels, mines and caves.

The goal is for the drones to be able to locate disaster survivors, chemical leaks and more.

While most are familiar with drones that fly, drones that submerge underwater are far different.

According to instructors at CU Denver, underwater drones have to deal with faulty communication systems, tight spaces and poor vision.

“As humans we use vision to do 99 percent of our navigation. So if you take the visual component away we have to rely on all these different multi-module sensing schemes,” said explained Sean Humbert, professor of mechanical engineering.

The competition is part of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Subterranean Challenge. The challenge will span three years.

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