Photo A: Louis Whitcomb supervises underwater robotics research at Johns Hopkins, including a new lab that features a tank filled with nearly 43,000 gallons of water.
Photo by Jay Van Rensselaer
Photo B: Doctoral student James Kinsey prepares to test the navigation and control systems that guide the labs underwater robot.
Photo by Jay Van Rensselaer
Tethered Robotic Sub Helps Engineers Refine Computerized Navigation, Control Systems
In a new indoor tank filled with almost 43,000 gallons of water, Johns Hopkins engineers are developing and testing computer control systems to serve as the "brains" for some of the world’s leading deep sea robotic exploration vehicles. To promote advances in underwater robotics, the Whiting School of Engineering recently constructed the circular hydrodynamics tank, 14 feet deep and 25 feet in diameter, inside a large lab space within Maryland Hall.
In the tank, researchers are testing the JHU Remotely Operated Vehicle, a small underwater robot developed at the university. Its navigation and control systems, also developed at Johns Hopkins, have recently been adapted and enhanced for use in the much larger Jason II vehicle, a new deep-sea oceanographic research robot operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The Johns Hopkins navigation program also has been deployed aboard the Deep Submergence Vehicle Alvin, Woods Hole’s inhabited oceanographic submersible.
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