Feeds

DARPA seeks crawling, burrowing river-recce sub bot

Contract inked for rinky-dink ink squirt squidroid

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

US weapons'n'rockets company Alliant Techsystems (ATK) has won a small military contract related to a planned underwater robot. The Unmanned Underwater Riverine Craft (UURC) will carry out "clandestine surveillance tasks in riverine and shallow water environments" using "bottom locomotion (crawling)" mode and "burrowing" abilities.

The ATK contract award for $494,254 was announced yesterday, but details on the UURC project can be found in here.

It would seem that America's enemies had best keep a close eye on their rivers and estuaries, which will soon be literally crawling with partly-submerged lurkerbots:

There is an operational need to carry out clandestine surveillance tasks in riverine and shallow water environments [within] denied, sensitive or contested areas.

For these, a UURC is needed with capabilities to: navigate submerged in rivers, inlets, and harbors as well as in coastal and shallow water areas; provide persistence in these areas and, provide underwater surveillance (against waterborne traffic, underwater obstacles, bottom and buried objects, specific vessels of interest) with onboard and deployable sensors under low visibility conditions.

It won't be simple to catch the mud-crawling bottom-creeper machines: they will twist and turn, burrow into the muck or perhaps even eject an inky cloud like a startled squid. The UURC will:

Be capable of autonomous operation and evasion procedures underwater (maneuver, burrowing, use of obscurants, hibernation mode) ...

The slithering aquadroids will be able to pop up infrared nightsight periscopes, and will of course include sonar and acoustic sensors. They will also, seemingly, feature "new methods of sensing including ... touch" and be able to drop off or otherwise deploy "listening devices, tagging devices and other packages".

Normally such a droid, unable to use conventional engines, would be sharply limited by battery endurance. But the UURC will also have "the ability to regenerate or harvest power for sustained endurance operation or to be able to enter a 'sleep' mode for sustained periods".

One need hardly add that the UURC is being promoted by the famous wingnut-boffins of DARPA, where tomorrow's world is yesterday's news and the only place to keep your brain is in a bubbling jar remotely linked to a huge, powerful robot or brainchipped-gorilla body.

The UURC is to be deployable by "subsurface launch", which could see it setting out to reconnoitre enemy rivers from DARPA's planned flying submarine: or alternatively from relatively humdrum nuclear-powered Stingray-esque submarine motherships crammed with cruise missiles and elite frogman-commando throatcutters.

Or more likely, of course, as with most DARPA projects it will never come into use. But the Pentagon brainiacs have so many wacky projects that now and then one is sure to pay off. ®

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.