Designed at the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) with help from five South Korean universities, the Crabster CR200 as its officially known was aimed at overcoming the challenges posed by strong tidal currents in shallow waters. Propellor-equipped ROVs and automatous underwater vehicles are adept at swift movements and deep diving, but the technology doesn’t bode well in rough conditions. Current tidal strengths of 1.5 meters per second are enough to rip the scuba mask off a human explorer, explains Jason Falconer for IEEE Spectrum.
That’s why the KIOST ditched fins with propulsion for a more crustacean approach that allows the robot to walk on the sea floor via six legs interconnected with 30 joints. The resulting structure will kick up less obtrusive debris than standard propellers.