When the robots do eventually rise up, there isn’t going to be anywhere for humanity to hide. They can now walk just about anywhere a human can, they can run like a dog, swim, fly – they’ve even been to space – and now they can stroll about on the seabed 200 metres down.
You can thank the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) for that. Their new Crabster CR200 robot is designed to inspect the seabed, pipelines and shipwrecks of the coast of the Korean Peninsula.
You might be wondering why they chose to make a submersible which can walk instead of maneuvering around with propellers like a normal submersible. Well that’s because there are some very strong currents in the areas in which the Crabster is likely to operate. A normal sub would be pushed around like a plastic bag in the wind. The comparably heavy Crabster is able to plant itself on the seabed and slowly lumber around as the water swirls past.
Weighing in at 600 kgs (1,322 lbs) the Crabster CR200 is 2.42 m long, 2.45 m wide, and 2 m high (7.9 ft x 8 ft x 6.5 ft). Its six legs allow for a top speed of 1 mph, and the front two legs can be fitted with manipulators for grasping objects.
Clearly the Crabster is a fairly complicated bit of kit. It takes four people to remotely operate the robot. One to pilot it, one to work the manipulators and cameras, one to plot its course and provide navigation information, and one to monitor the scanning sonar and other sensors.
As the Crabster is permanently tethered to a power source on the mothership, the robot can remain on the sea floor for days at a time.