A model of remote-controlled ‘Amphibious Robotic Vehicle’ designed by two students of National Institute of Technology - Tiruchi, holds promise for several applications on the fronts of national security, pollution monitoring, ocean exploration, and rescue missions.
A.N. Shyam Sundar and V. Ravi, final-year students of Electronics and Communication Engineering, say the rugged robot made using light weight foam rubber for wheels and swimming pad as chassis has an aerodynamic structure and could be adapted for air travel as well with powerful thrust motors.
By equipping it with suitable sensors, the vehicle that is capable of moving with ease on both land and water could be utilised to monitor sea coasts, and by mounting a video camera / infrared camera embedded with an image-processor, the robot could be used in sea rescue missions, they explain.
There are also other possible applications. With a spectrum analyser and onboard processor, the pollution levels in rivers, lakes and other water bodies could be monitored. It could also be used for exploring the oceans for detecting the presence of oil and valuable mineral ore deposits. It could serve as a transport vehicle for off-shore drilling and mining operations as well. Since the vehicle can operate at high temperatures, it can be used in active volcanic areas for threat assessment also.
Similarly, in flood prone areas, the robotic vehicle may prove to be a viable option for commuting. Most of all, the battery operated vehicle can be seen as a green solution if used as an alternative to conventional vehicles.
The vehicle has two parts — electronic and mechanical. The electronic circuitry consists of a radio frequency transmitting and receiving circuit. The transmission is done through a chip in the remote control. Upon receiving the wireless signal, processing and command interpretation takes place in the robot in accordance with the frequency received.
The mechanical model consists of a swimming pad as its chassis and two water-proof boxes fixed on the pad to hold the internal circuitry and the batteries. At the rear, high torque motors are fixed to the rubber wheels and are driven by the circuit.
The rubber wheels have propellers attached concentric to its centre to propel the boat in water. At the front, two freely rotating wheels are attached to support the vehicle on land.
According to S. Raghavan, Professor of the Institute’s ECE Department, the robotic vehicle, designed as part of the final-year project work, was the result of two months of hard work by the students.