The BIOSwimmer from Boston Engineering is a highly maneuverable UUV designed to work in harsh and hard-to-reach environments.


  • High maneuverability
  • Improved propulsion
  • Energy saving


  • Unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs)

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing

  • Goal 14: Life Below Water

The Challenge

Certain underwater areas are constricted and hard-to-reach, making inspection difficult. In addition, the environments can be oily or dangerous, making it hard for humans to work. Traditional unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) struggle with propulsion and maneuverability, making them less than ideal for working in these areas.

Innovation Details

The BIOSwimmer™ was inspired by the tuna and is designed for high maneuverability in harsh environments. It has a flexible body with fins for maneuverability. It can inspect interior areas of ships such as flooded bilges and tanks, and external areas such as steerage, propulsion and sea chests. It can also inspect and protect harbors and piers, perform area searches and carry out other security missions. It was designed by Boston Engineering for use by the Department of Homeland Security.

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Biological Model

Tuna are very fast and efficient swimmers. They utilize thunniform swimming, where most of the lateral movement occurs in the tail and adjacent area of the body with very little bending of the fish’s body. The tail or caudal fin is usually large and crescent shaped to increase the power of each sweeping motion. This form of swimming is ideal for tuna, as they must swim fast over long distances while still conserving energy.