These tiny robots are exploring history's most iconic shipwrecks

They were most recently used to examine the remains of the USS Arizona, which sank during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Underwater explorers no longer need to get their feet wet to uncover some of history's most notable shipwrecks. Oxygen tanks and flippers are being replaced by underwater robots. Sam Macdonald is the president of Deep Trekker, a Canadian company that makes underwater bots. Since Deep Trekker's creation in 2010, the company's robots have become a standard in the aquaculture industry, but, Macdonald says, that wasn't the original intent.

"One night I dropped a flashlight off my boat and I started thinking about having an underwater robot that we could do things with including retrieving lost items, but also for exploring all of these ship wrecks," Macdonald said.

Macdonald got the chance to fulfill her wish this summer, when one of Deep Trekker's customers invited her along on an expedition to explore the USS Arizona, 75 years after it was sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor. With the robot's help, Macdonald and the team were able to explore portions of the ship that would have otherwise been inaccessible.

[Related: The best Japan Robot, gadget and car expo gallery]

“We took the ROV and went into the main main bomb hole, the bomb that they believe is responsible for the final sinking of the ship. We deployed the ROV into that hole, and witnessed firsthand some of the collapsed infrastructure," Macdonald said.

Joining the team was one of the six remaining survivors of the USS Arizona, who had a chance to get a live view of the admiral's cabin, a portion of the ship that had been off-limits to him.

Macdonald says the underwater bots have also been used to explore the HMS Erebus, one of the ships used by Sir John Franklin in 1845 when he set sail from England in search of a Northwest Passage across Canada's Arctic. According to oral testimony, the ship got stuck in the Arctic's thick ice and never made it to its final destination. Two years after the discovering the Erebus, explorers found the expedition's second ship: the HMS Terror. Macdonald says they will be exploring that ship this summer.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags robots

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Magdalena Petrova

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Ada Chan

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

I highly recommend the Dynabook Portégé® X30L-G notebook for everyday business use, it is a benchmark setting notebook of its generation in the lightweight category.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?