Diving robot takes on risky search operations

Tethys Robotics has developed an autonomous underwater robot for search operations that are too risky and difficult for human divers. It is particularly useful in minimizing the risks for teams working in murky channels and rivers.

ETH spin-off Tethys Robotics has developed an underwater robot for tracking tasks.
ETH spin-off Tethys Robotics has developed an underwater robot for tracking tasks. Excerpt from video: ETH Zurich / Nicole Davidson, 12AHEAD

Searching underwater for people and objects is often a high-risk activity. Start-up Tethys Robotics, a spin-off of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH), has developed an autonomous underwater vehicle for use in difficult environments that would be too dangerous for conventional techniques. According to an ETH press release, this minimizes the risks for divers and rescue teams working in turbid channels and rivers.

The diving robot is equipped with acoustic sensors and cameras that enable it to search large areas underwater autonomously and quickly localize objects and people. Once the robot has located its target, an operator takes over and guides it to its destination. Tethys can carry a load weighing up to 40 kilograms. The press release explains the diving robot provides relief to the emergency services, who are then able to focus on other important tasks and ensure that the search and rescue operation runs safely and efficiently.

Jonas Wüst and Pragash Sivananthaguru set up Tethys Robotics as a student project. Their underwater robot is now used by many local authorities. ce/heg

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