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Professor Michael Jenkin's AQUA robot gets four flippers and a clever brain

Professor Michael Jenkin's AQUA robot gets four flippers and a clever brain

A team of researchers from York University has helped created a robot with the smarts to think for itself as it swims underwater, wrote Metro (Canada) Dec. 7:

The team, led by Michael Jenkin, a computer science professor in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, is working together with teams from McGill University and Dalhousie University to build the highly advanced AQUA robot, which resembles an otter and uses flippers to propel itself around underwater. Despite its cute, toy-like appearance, AQUA is intelligent enough to understand visual commands and perform complex under water manoeuvres.

Jenkin's team recently created an underwater control tablet that lets an operator interact with AQUA directly and much more quickly – a crucial feature when investigating dangerous, unknown environments like shipwrecks. “We want to make vehicles that are more intelligent, that understand their world better and can interact with the world better. The underlying goal is to enhance our understanding of how to build intelligent, autonomous systems,” Jenkin said.

Jenkin, a member of the Centre for Vision Research, is one of the researchers based in York’s new state-of-the-art Sherman Health Science Research Centre, which officially opened on Sept. 14. He leads the Canadian Centre for Field Robotics laboratory, which is based on the building’s main level.

The centre is supported by a grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation. The AQUA project is funded in part by the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Posted by Elizabeth Monier-Williams, with files courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin