Using robot crabs to clear the oceans from mines might seem like science fiction, but in fact, it is all true. Work at the US robot manufacturer IS Robotics has resulted in the development of Ariel, an Autonomous Legged Underwater Vehicle with six legs, embedded intelligence, and onboard power and sensors, that has been designed to clear mines from hostile waters. The idea is that a number of these robots would operate together to clear the waters of mines prior to friendly craft landing on the shore. The number of the beasts that are deployed would, of course, depend on the mine density. Once deployed, the bottom crawling robots would search the landing zone, securing themselves next to any mines that are detected. All the robot crabs would then be detonated upon receiving a central signal from a command and control centre, destroying all the mines simultaneously. For non-combat cleanup operations, the robot crabs can be programmed to drop off the explosive before retiring prior to detonation where they can be picked up for reuse.
More details on the crabs are available at www.isr.com.