Using an ocean sunfish as a guide for it, AeroVironment has come up with a new kind of robot that will be run using solar power. The robot will be roaming the open waters with the intent of collecting energy without the use of batteries.
The energy collected will immediately go to the robot’s fins while an attachable flexible tail of linked solar panels can be used to increase the amount of power it can generate.
The bizarre-looking sunfish is known for its habit of coming to the surface and rolling to one side to bask in the sun. The collected power is also used by an onboard data logger, that keeps a record of the local physical, chemical and biological water conditions.
The robot has a cruising speed of two knots, and was intended to swim beneath the surface when not charging. On the matter of how it could function without a battery remains a mystery although recent research has shown that gallium indium phosphide solar cells placed up to 9.1 meters underwater are capable of generating some electricity