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Everyone knows that mines, be there on land or in water, are bad news. But while there are several robots designed to find landmines, until now sea mines didn’t enjoy the same wealth of options, especially close to shore. Saab’s new Sea WASP, which stands for Waterborne Anti-IED Security Platform, is an underwater drone “made to find Improvised Explosive Devices under the water’s surface,” Popular Science reports.
The Sea WASP is tethered by a 152m cord that lets the 90kg machine dive to depth of up to 61 metres in search of ordnance. It take two people to operate 1.6m (in length) machine that comes with a forward-looking sonar, multiple depth and navigation sensors, and two cameras: one on the front, and a smaller on the WASP’s grabber arm.
Saab touts the WASP as a “significant change in underwater operations against IEDs and similar threats.” The robot promises to allow bomb disposal technicians to remotely operate “underwater intervention” for both conventional and improvised explosives in any easy-to-use, easily configurable manner.
The WASP can be deployed from any harbour walls or beach, after being transported in a light support vehicle to the site. It can also “be fitted to bespoke surface support vessels, and is flexible enough to be loaded into multiple varieties of boat,” Saab writes.
Once the Sea WASP locates its explosive booty, it works to dispose of it much like any land-based robot would. Human operators watch over the robot’s operations through a video link to determine if it can be easily dismantled, or if it needs to be blown up with a safe distance from any individual or ship.
You can watch it in action in the video below: