Taniwha racing full pedal ahead

25 June 2015

Team Taniwha of the Auckland Bioengineering Institute's Biomimetics Lab are currently over at the NAVAL Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) in Carderock, Maryland USA, participating in the 13th International Submarine Races (ISR).

Team Taniwha
Left to right: Koray Atalag, Gerrit Becker, Ben Pocock, Sanjay Surendran, Chris Walker, Iain Anderson.

Things are going well, and they have completed all three of their starts so far - not everyone does. They have achieved a top speed of 3.65 knots (1.88 m/s) - their best so far. This might not seem fast at first glance, but it is when you are a human propelled mass of nearly 700 kilogrammes, underwater. It is also 1.14 knots shy of the World record for non-propeller single person submarine.

The races run over five days, from June 22nd to 26th, and are the second international race in which the Taniwha has competed.

The team are as follows:

  • Manager/ Support Diver: Iain Anderson (Associate Professor / Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI), Department of Engineering Science (DES))
  • Captain/ Pilot: Christopher Walker (PhD Candidate / ABI)
  • Chief Engineer: Ben Pocock (Research Engineer / ABI)
  • Chief Diver / Second Pilot: Sanjay Surendran (BE student / DES)
  • Engineer / Support Diver: Gerrit Becker (Biomimetics Lab, ABI)
  • Safety Officer / Support Diver: Koray Atalag (ABI, National Institute for Health Innovation)

The International Submarine Races were conceived as an engineering competition to foster engagement in the ocean engineering and science disciplines by young students. Each team must develop a one or two-person "wet" submarine. Crew members breathe SCUBA from the air supply carried aboard. Each sub is unique, designed from "scratch," and relies upon novel techniques for propulsion and guidance.

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