IE’s Yu She Co-principal Investigator of NSF Grant-Winning Research Project

Led by Oregon State University researchers, this $1.5 million endeavor aims to develop a team of underwater robots that can collect measurements of ice cavities and oceanic properties by traveling beneath ice shelves.
Photo of Assistant Professor Yu She
Yu She is a co-principal investigator in a collaborative robotics project with Oregon State University that recently earned a $1.5M NSF grant. 

The three-year project is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs and will allow scientists to monitor changes in ice-ocean conditions.

She, co-PI for the project, will focus on developing a swarm of innovative passenger robots that will be transported by a larger mothership robot. These smaller passenger robots are intended to disperse and investigate the waters beneath a melting ice shelf. In particular, the team led by Dr. She will concentrate on the hardware design, prototyping, and motion control of the passenger robots.

The environmental conditions faced by the robots make communication and coordination particularly difficult. Jessica Garwood of OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences and the project’s principal investigator, says “Warming ocean conditions are causing polar ice sheets and ice shelves, which are floating extensions of ice sheets, to melt rapidly and contribute to global sea level rise, but studying the impact of this phenomenon poses a significant challenge for researchers who have limited tools to physically reach dangerous and deep, distant cavities beneath ice using existing tools.” By overcoming these obstacles, the robots developed and tested by Dr. Yu She’s team have the potential to reveal new information about the impact of global warming effects on ice-ocean conditions.

OSU’s news release states, “The project resulted from a National Science Foundation-sponsored Ideas Lab workshop that brought together scientists from several disciplines, including robotics, polar science, oceanography and engineering, to brainstorm innovative solutions to advance underwater science.”

Related Link:

To learn more about the project, be sure to check out Oregon State's Newsroom