Researchers have tested a pollution detecting robotic fish prototype in the Spanish Port of Gijon – the new technology aims to help authorities monitor pollution levels in ports and harbours and avert potential problems.
The fish can detect hazardous pollutants such as leaks from vessels in port or underwater pipelines by way of a tiny chemical sensor – this information is then sent back to shore for researchers to analyse.
Sister publication, Maritime Journal, initially reported on the Shoal project back in 2009 whilst the robotic fish were still in research.
Back then, Luke Speller project leader of Shoal and senior research scientist at BMT Group, told MJ that the fish had the ability to coordinate their own recharging and distance from each other by using used swarm intelligence.
“The whole shoal will see the whole picture if they come across something, they will all work together”, he explained.
The fish can detect minute quantities of dissolved pollutants alerting authorities before a problem arises.
Shoal is a European research project managed by BMT and funded under the European Seventh Framework Programme for ICT.
Following this testing, researchers will now decide if any modifications are needed to the prototype before going ahead with developing a commercial system.
The Shoal consortium is made up of six European organisations – BMT Group, the University of Essex, Tyndall National Institute, the University of Strathclyde, Thales safari and the port Authority of Gijon.