The US Navy has a new weapon straight out of an Austin Powers movie — a robotic shark. The Navy’s new tool, dubbed GhostSwimmer, is an underwater drone designed to look and swim like a real shark and the motion is uncannily real and you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference right off the bat if you saw this robot sneaking around you in the water.
The GhostSwimmer is about the size of an albacore tuna, weighing in at 5 ft. long and about 100 pounds, but has the shape and swimming pattern based off a shark. The Navy just announced this project as part of a larger experiment in biomimetics (imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems) to develop more unmanned underwater vehicles that can be used for a variety of purposes such as sweeping harbors for mines, reconnaissance missions, attack enemy vessels from a distance and extend the Navy’s capabilities in the open seas.
Just like a shark, the GhostSwimmer uses its tail for propulsion and control. What is intriguing about this robotic fish is it can operate in water as shallow as 10 inches or in depths up 300 feet. There is a 500 ft. tether to control the GhostSwimmer or be programmed to swim independently and periodically return to the surface to communicate.