The announcement, made by NSTDA Director Dr.
Itthi Ruthaporn on Sunday, comes as Chulalongkorn University marine scientist Dr. Woranop Wiyakan prepares to become the first Thai ever to take part in a southern polar expedition.
Dr. Itthi said the robot, the world’s first underwater robot explorer for the Antarctic region, was designed to help Dr. Woranop collect data from the Antarctic waters in November.
Dr. Woranop, who has been undergoing intensive training in Japan, will work in Antarctica with Japan’s National Institute of Polar Research.
The robot explorer, which weighs less than 50 kilograms, has been designed to withstand the Antarctic weather conditions.
Capable of diving to depths of up to 50 meters, it is fitted with instruments to record salinity, speed, and temperature.
Using remote control, Dr. Woranop will also be able to use the robot’s cameras to record marine life.
The robot runs on batteries which can be charged by using solar cells, also invented by Thai researchers.
Dr. Itthi said the robot cost around 2 million baht (50,000 US dollars) to produce.
Copyright 2004 Xinhua News Agency
Copyright © 2002 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.