20,000 Feet Below The Sea: MIT's underwater robot explores the ocean all alone

Once the Odyssey IV dives below the surface, it's all on its own. Developed by MIT's Sea Grant Program, the Odyssey IV autonomous underwater vehicle (or AUV) is designed to explore deep down below the ocean — as far as almost 20,000 feet below the surface. The deep-divin' 'bot receives it orders on the surface, while its antenna is still visible to researchers. Once underwater, it follows the plan by traveling at up to three knots between GPS waypoints, and it can also send out sonar pings to check how close it is to the ground or any other obstructions. The whole time it's underwater, it's entirely on its own — there's no communication with the surface.

That's why the Odyssey IV's autonomy is so important. It knows how to control it's own depth by filling itself with up to 1,000 pounds of water, which will also help keep the robot from overheating during long dives. If there's trouble, it can adjust itself to be more buoyant by dumping the water and let itself be pulled back to the surface.

Via Popular Mechanics