While there are ways in which port authorities can search for such stashes, the smugglers often have time to ditch their illicit goods before those searches can be performed. However, what if there were stealthy, inexpensive, underwater hull-hugging robots that could check the boats out, without the crews even knowing they were there? That's just what a team at MIT is developing.
The current prototype robot was designed by mechanical engineering grad student Sampriti Bhattacharyya and her advisor, Prof. Harry Asada. Built mainly using a 3D printer, it's oval in shape (but with a flat bottom), and is described as being a little smaller than a football.