Bio-inspired Underwater Robot

Project Contributors:

  • Dr. Sfakiotakis
  • Dr. Fasoulas


Funding Source / Acknowledgements:


Project Brief

Undulatory fin propulsion, inspired by the swimming of knifefish, rays and cuttlefish, could potentially endow underwater vehicles with precision manoeuvrability and stable station-keeping, in the context of applications such as underwater structure inspection and maintenance. The interest for this bio-inspired propulsion scheme stems mainly from the thrust vectoring capability of undulatory fins, and from the ability to integrate them into rigid-body underwater vehicles. Other postulated advantages of undulatory fins, compared to conventional propellers, include increased energy efficiency, reduced sediment disruption and stealth operation.
The SQUIDBOT-mini robot, is a compact-size, fully untethered underwater vehicle propelled by a pair of laterally-mounted undulatory fins, each one featuring three actuated rays. Two coupled Central Pattern Generator (CPG) networks are employed to produce the rays’ motion profile.
The prototype is equipped with an Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS), a depth sensor and a Pixy vision system, which are utilized in the implementation of closed-loop schemes for motion control of the vehicle.

Related Publications:

  • Michael Sfakiotakis, John Fasoulas, Roza Gliva: Dynamic modeling and experimental analysis of a two-ray undulatory fin robot. In: 2015 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), pp. 339–346, IEEE 2015.
  • Michael Sfakiotakis, John Fasoulas, Roza Gliva, Aristotle Yannakoudakis: Model-based fin ray joint tracking control for undulatory fin mechanisms. In: 2015 7th International Congress on Ultra Modern Telecommunications and Control Systems and Workshops (ICUMT), pp. 158-165, 2015.
  • Michael Sfakiotakis, Roza Gliva, Minas Mountoufaris: Steering-plane motion control for an underwater robot with a pair of undulatory fin propulsors. In: 2016 24th Mediterranean Conference on Control and Automation (MED), pp. 496–503, IEEE 2016.
  • Michael Sfakiotakis, John Fasoulas, Manolis M Kavoussanos, Manolis Arapis: Experimental investigation and propulsion control for a bio-inspired robotic undulatory fin. In: Robotica, vol. 33, no. 5, pp. 1062–1084, 2015.