Researchers from Osaka University have developed SOTAB 1 (Spilled Oil Tracking Autonomous Buoy 1) with imaging sensors that can spot globs from a distance. The GPS bot dives down and when it senses something that resembles oil, floats back to the surface and “swims” towards the oil spill. SOTAB then helps cleanup crews by providing data on wind speed, and depth and temperature of the water. Still in the developmental stage, head researcher Naomi Kato hopes the 243 lb. robot will be available commercially in a couple of years.
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