This little puppy, called ENDURANCE, is created by the impressive folks at Stone Aerospace. Basically you fit tons of sensors on a rig with floatation pads and a couple of motors. Then you dump it into a freezing lake at Antarctica, have it drive in under the ice and then lose contact with it for a few hours. When it comes back, on its own, it has figured out what the area looks like!
While this is a huge project, it might serve as inspiration for building/designing some simpler and smaller things!
This video shows what the AUV looked like back in 2006, but it has improved since then.
It is being built to survive on Europa – the ice moon of Jupiter, some 800 million kilometers from Earth. It’s going to go there, get under the ice, and look for alien life.
But since no signals can penetrate the ice, it must be completely autonomous, and therefore quite intelligent. It has been featured on the National Geographic channel, in the documentary “Journey To An Alien Moon”.
– Patrik Nordquist, Group T