Can submersible drone technology help make solo diving a safer activity? Researchers at Divers Alert Network Europe are testing an underwater drone and floating satellite designed to understand the body language of a scuba diver in distress.
The Cognitive Autonomous Diving Buddy, or CADDY, is actually two drones â€” one on the surface, one near the diver â€” which work in tandem to monitor and respond to any unsafe conditions experienced during a dive. The underwater drone is capable of assessing a diverâ€™s behavior for any signs of distress, and the surface drone maintains a communication link to a command center or surface team. Together, the two drones ensure that a diver is in constant communication with outside sources, even if the diver is disabled or harmed.
The CADDY project replaces a human buddy diver with an autonomous underwater vehicle and adds a new autonomous surface vehicle to improve monitoring, assistance, and safety of the diverâ€™s mission.
â€œWhen you consider that half of diving accidents involve unaccompanied scuba divers, CADDY will surely revolutionize the underwater experience,â€ says Professor Salih Murat Engi, the projectâ€™s principal coordinator.
In case of emergency, the drones are equipped with lights, cameras and navigation systems, and are able to guide a diver back to safety.
The project is a collaborative effort between DAN Europe, a nonprofit medical and research organization, and the European Communityâ€™s Seventh Framework Programme FP7, which focuses on cognitive systems and robotics research.
â€œDiver safety is an essential component of the CADDY project and whenever diver safety is involved, DAN steps in,â€ Engi says. â€œWeâ€™re here to represent the diving community and assist in building future technologies that will take diving to the next level.â€
For more information on this project, visit www.caddy-fp7.eu