Pumpkin-shaped drones called Eve (Ellipsoidal Vehicle for Exploration) are going to monitor and map everything that goes on in the deepest corners of our seas and oceans. These drones have been created by a scientist of Indian origin, Sampriti Bhattacharya who is a mechanical engineer working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) specialising in robotics. She aims to create smart drones that will float under the sea and unravel its mysteries. To commercialize Eve, she has even founded her own company called Hydroswarm.
Surprisingly, around 70% of our planet is covered with oceans and seas and still, the humankind has explored just 5% of it. This is less than what we know of the surface of the moon. “90-95% of the world’s energy and resources are in the ocean,” says Sampriti, “and we know so little about it. We don’t have to go to asteroids to mine helium and find fuel – there is plenty in our backyard… plenty of energy resources in our oceans.” She further adds, “Just like we have seen a space era starting with Apollo missions, I believe we are on the verge of starting a new era in Ocean exploration.”
So what makes the Eve submersive robots more useful compared to the ones already available? The other robots need to be remotely controlled but not Eve. The swarms of these submersive robots can autonomously collect massive amounts of oceanic data. Large areas of oceans and seas can be covered faster. It can be used as a standalone drone or multiple drones can be used to create a sensor network. A big problem with such robots is that when they communicate they interfere with the entire sound channel which means that in order for them to be able to operate efficiently, the other networks have to stay quiet. Another problem is that submersive robots like Eve could be too small compared to those required to measure ocean currents and carry out real-time video processing underwater. The development team hopes to bridge these gaps pretty soon.