If you thought that robotic trash can was impressive, check this out! The Mantabot seen above is the product of university researchers trying to emulate the beautiful swimming motions of stingrays and manta rays. With drones already capable of patrolling land and sky it was only a matter of time before an autonomous robot found its home in the sea.
The team, consisting of University of Virginia's Hilary Bart-Smith and researchers from Princeton University, the University of California-Los Angeles and West Chester University, created the robot to gain a better understanding of how it rays move through the ocean. Not only do they want to mimic it's effortless motions, they are trying to improve on it. Their goal is to create a autonomous robot that can achieve silent propulsion with the least energy possible. Considering rays move so elegantly, with seemingly little-to-no effort, it's a good place to start.
As far as practical applications go, the team sees potential in the Mantabot's possible commercial and military uses, along with undersea exploration and scientific research. All we see is another creature to fear when we go swimming! Seriously, in the video below you can see just how creepy this thing really is. From a distance you probably wouldn't even be able to tell it's a robot and future versions are sure to be even more life-like.