The world’s largest subterranean lake, Dragon’s Breath Cave in the Kalahari Desert, has been successfully explore and mapped by an autonomous underwater drone.
Stone Aerospace’s AI-controlled Sunfish autonomous underwater drone did what divers have failed to do, exploring and mapping the full extent of the lake.
The international team also used the underwater drone’s sonar sensor technology to map two other sites in Northern Namibia, in an expedition that lasted a month.
The 3D maps will be helpful to geologists and resource managers, as well as divers.
The team’s leader, explorer and robotics systems designer Vickie Siegel, commented: “We came to Namibia hoping to understand Dragon’s Breath better. In the end, we completely explored and mapped three enigmatic dive sites that were considered the deep frontier.
“Sunfish is the first autonomous system to truly explore a totally unknown place inside the earth.”