The shark-styled ‘Great White’ looking underwater drones are reportedly designed to conduct deep water reconnaissance missions, with a claimed operating depth of 150 meters.
Photos uploaded online from what was described as a major military expo at the “China National Convention Center” in Beijing this week, which featured dozens of domestic and foreign manufacturers, showcased a “high-speed, heavy-load, low-noise distant water drone for searching, tracking, monitoring, and reconnaissance tasks.”
The “bionic” machine resembles a massive Great White shark – which itself would be quite conspicuous if someone caught site of it actually cruising in the ocean.
However, it remains to be seen if it could be picked up on underwater sonar; presumably, the “shark drone” is designed to blend in with typical sea life.
Small underwater drones resembling fish were also showcased at the military expo.
Commentary alongside the published photos said they could be equipped with different external devices based on varying mission requirements.
It’s not the first time that Chinese media touted new developments in creepy looking bionic shark and fish devices for spying.
— Barbara Richards (@sdbrichards) June 19, 2018
According to Chinese state media, AI “smart fish” have reportedly been under development by Chinese contractors for years, but ostensibly for environmental and engineering purposes, including for scientists to view hard to reach places under the sea or inside underwater pipes.
One archived report described:
A team at Lanzhou Petrochemical Polytechnic has invented a smart “robot fish” that can explore underwater realms…
The robotic fish utilizes many advanced technologies, including mechanical electronics, sensors and artificial intelligence. It can be used for pipeline detection, hydrology, water quality monitoring, underwater rescue and more.
What’s up with China’s subsea drones. The shark is a high-speed, heavy-load, low-noise distant water drone for searching, tracking, monitoring, and reconnoitering tasks. Really curious if there’s any utility in these looking marginally fish-like https://t.co/GIEseWliOp pic.twitter.com/jcZaSmLT8K
— Devin Thorne (@D_Thorne) July 26, 2019
It remains to be seen what kind of practical real world or even military application a giant Great White-looking shark drone could have, considering its large size, other than perhaps sending enemies scrambling for fear there’s a real man-eater in the waters.