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Scientists develop 40cm submarine

Posted on 05.08.2004 - 16:31 EDT in AUV NEWS by Rons_ROV_Links

Scientists at the Australian National University (ANU) have developed the world's smallest, self-governing submarine.
They claimed the 40cm long sub, the Serafina, would open up a new era of oceanic discovery, with applications from shipwreck recovery to mineral exploration and search and rescue missions.

Development team leader Dr Uwe Zimmer said the Serafina had five propellers and a plastic hull crammed with rechargeable batteries and circuitry.

It was capable of travel at a relatively fast underwater speed of one metre per second, equivalent to walking pace, and could also hover, tilt and right itself if overturned.

Dr Uwe said his team had refined the design so Serafina could be produced relatively cheaply, starting at about $1000 per unit.

"Small and versatile submersibles, such as Serafina, are an important leap towards making underwater exploration affordable and effective," he said in a statement.

"Underwater exploration and travel is usually extremely expensive and therefore limited either to the military or to specialised missions.

"Now that we have developed the world's smallest autonomous underwater vehicle at a reasonable cost, it provides a promising platform to develop a fleet, or swarm, of underwater Serafinas, which could provide valuable new data about our seas and what lies beneath them."

The Serafina will go through its paces for the media today.

30 July 2004

The Australian

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