Professor Myung Hyun’s research team from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at KAIST has developed a jellyfish removal robot named ‘JEROS’ (JEROS: Jellyfish Elimination RObotic Swarm).
With jellyfish attacks around the south-west coast of Korea becoming a serious problem, causing deaths and operational losses (around 3 billion won a year), Professor Myung’s team started the development of this unmanned automatic jellyfish removal system 3 years ago.
JEROS floats on the surface of the water using two long cylindrical bodies. Motors are attached to the bodies such that the robot can move back and forth as well as rotate on water. A camera and GPS system allows the JEROS to detect jellyfish swarm as well as plan and calculate its work path relative to its position.
The jellyfish are removed by a submerged net that sucks them up using the velocity created by the unmanned sailing. Once caught, the jellyfish are pulverized using a special propeller.
JEROS is estimated to be 3 times more economical than manual removal. Upon experimentation, it showed a removal rate of 400kg per hour at 6 knots. To reach similar effectiveness as manual net removal, which removes up to 1 ton per hour, the research team designed the robot such that 3 or more individual robots could be grouped together and controlled as one.
The research team has finished conducting removal tests in Gunsan and Masan and plan to commercialize the robot next April after improving the removal technology. JEROS technology can also be used for a wide range of purposes such as patrolling and guarding, preventing oil spills or removing floating waste. This research was funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology since 2010.