Under the BMT managed program, SHOAL; researchers have developed and delivered a robotic fish with artificial intelligence that can detect and identify pollution in aquatic areas. The team devoted three long years to research five major components including artificial intelligence, chemical analysis, underwater communication, robotic designs and hydrodynamics to finally introduce this fish with chemical sensors that will permit real time analysis of their surroundings. This is a complete shift from the conventional way of sample collection and far more efficient too.
The application of artificial intelligence is most critical to the performance of the fish as it allows them to manage multiple problems, the most vital being recognizing the source of pollution. Other essential functions include maintaining communication distance from other fish, detecting the location of pollution zones, and finally returning back for a recharge and with the required input from the water.
The fish are capable of mapping their exact location and the direction they have to follow, what samples they have to collect and how they will communicate all this back to the base station. They are designed to blend with the marine environment, without interfering with its working or causing any disruption to its ecology. At present SHOAL has spent about £20,000 for manufacturing the fish, but they hope that with commercial production soon in line the cost will come down.