SharkCam uses an omni-directional ultra-short baseline (USBL) navigation system to determine the range, bearing, and depth of a tagged animal. It then closes on the animal to a pre-determined stand-off distance and position (left, right, above, or below) and to film it swimming and interacting with its environment without interfering with the animal's behavior. Another system on the vehicle permits it to communicate with scientists on the surface every 10 to 20 seconds and to receive commands from the surface to change speed, depth, or other mission parameters as necessary.
So far, SharkCam has been tested on white sharks and basking sharks near Cape Cod. Plans are currently underway to use the system in the Pacific Ocean near Guadalupe, Mexico, and to follow other large marine animals. SharkCam also is evolving into an "Oceaneye" that can be fine-tuned to follow other marine creatures such as turtles and seals and potentially even some smaller animals such as eels.
Length: 2.3m (90 in.)
Diameter: 19cm (7.5 in.)
Weight: 45kg (100 lbs.)
Maximum depth: 100m (328 ft.)
Maximum speed: 5 knots
Mission duration: Up to 8 hours