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Bangladeshis Make Robot Submarine

Saifur Rahman Rony | May 13, 2014
Bangladeshis make robot submarine

Bangladeshis make robot submarine

Bangladesh is a country of rivers which span across the entire delta with the Bay of Bengal situated in the South. However, our country lacks in the capacity to research and explore the seafloor as the necessity tools required for such actions are not readily available. Rescue operations after a calamity at sea are often futile. With the expanding economy and growing industries, a need for sea exploration has occurred. To cater to these requirements, a group of four engineering students from AIUB may have just come up with a solution.

"Price for these professional robots begins at a hefty $7000 and Abu realized that employing such robots would be impossible for a developing country like Bangladesh".

Before he enrolled as an engineering student, Abu Fattah would often be concerned about the accidents that occur at sea and the failure that follows in rescue operations. He then began to do research on how to do something for such calamities in Bangladesh and found out that a lot of work was being done abroad with ROV (remotely operated vehicle) and AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) at professional levels in oil rigs, under water exploration, etc. Price for these professional robots begins at a hefty $7000 and Abu realized that employing such robots would be impossible for a developing country like Bangladesh. Hence he began to wonder how to create such robots in Bangladesh at a much cheaper price. Having watched some university students working on similar projects on the Discovery Channel one day, Abu joked with his friends and talked about making one themselves. When the time came for them to work on their thesis project, no other idea seemed appealing. Abu then spoke to his supervisor Dr. Kamrul Hasan and he showed interest in their idea and asked them to start working on it. Abu and his team mates, Prasun Biswas, Sajib Das and Meraj mustakim began working.

Their primary goal was to achieve the basic ROV functionalities and the biggest problem they faced in doing so was creating the body structure. According to their design, the electric parts and power unit would be placed inside the structure, hence, it would need to be waterproof and also be able to withstand water pressure. After careful consideration they came to the conclusion that the PVC pipe would meet all their requirements. They spoke with the manufacturers of PVC and explained what is required and they agreed to create the body structure. For the ROV to function properly it needs thrust and the thruster made by the team was unable to withstand water pressure below 5 meters. To fix this problem, a water proof motor was imported from abroad and that is where the production cost increased significantly. The next focus was on the control system. The micro controller system was the one to use as these could be easily programmed and are low on power consumption, along with other advantages. Finally the robot submarine came into being. This ROV, runs by water propulsion (instead of jet propulsion), powered by an on board battery and controlled by microcontroller. The target was to build a low cost ROV and they have used materials that are available in the local market. A total of Tk. 40,000 (appx $500) was needed to build this ROV whereas a similar ROV would cost about $2,000 abroad. Abu also noted that they wanted to do something that would be unique to our country and encourage others to venture out on their own. Also, there have been other occasions where Bangladeshis have taken part in national and international robotics competitions but no prior work has been done in underwater robotics.

শিক্ষা সংক্রান্ত খবরাখবর নিয়মিত পেতে রেজিস্ট্রেশন করুন অথবা Log In করুন।

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A total of Tk. 40,000 (appx $500) was needed to build this ROV whereas a similar ROV would cost about $2,000 abroad

When it comes to the prospects of this robot submarine, they seem quite promising. The ROV built can perform basic tasks of a typical ROV. It can move horizontally and vertically. It can go under certain depths and can collect water sample and also send out video feed using on board light and camera. It also sports temperature and obstacle sensors that send data to the display mounted on the remote controller.

After further modification and enhancement of upgraded technologies is availed, it has another area of potential, which is to help in the recovery from disasters by detecting sunken water vehicles in the quickest possible time. This would particularly be useful in areas where it’s tough and dangerous for humans to dive and search under water. This robot could be used to make detailed underwater map of the seafloor in a cost effective way. It will also allow us to conduct precise underwater surveys. These underwater robots could be used to find endangered or unknown species of living creatures.

As for applications, the ROV can be used in various sectors and industries starting with the oil and gas industry to fish farms, criminal investigations, chemical industries, hydroelectric/nuclear, investigation of sunken objects and power stations, among others.
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