A squid-type underwater robot developed by Osaka University in Japan was demonstrated in a Kobe swimming pool on Oct. 21 as part of an underwater robot festival. It has been designed with a long, flat body to easily enter narrow spaces. This kind of robot is called "bio-mimetic" because it imitates characteristics of living things.
Although they refer to this as a "squid-type" robot; it does not propel itself by shooting jets of water backward. Long rubber fins on either side of the robot, like those on the sides of the heads of some squids (see photo), provide propulsion. It uses actuators embedded in the rubber fins, curling them rhythmically for forward thrust (see the robot squid video).
According to the Osaka University's Department of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering, underwater robots will have a greater scope of applicability and potential research than bipedal robots:
In addition to the precise control technologies needed to move robots in water and the systems to maintain their attitude in extremely unstable currents, brand new propulsion systems are being imagined for robots being designed to monitor ocean environments, search out underwater resources as well as perform other underwater missions.
Here's a quick peek at some other robots that imitate animals to get around:
Biomimetic Robot Animals - Not All Are Cute
Sure, they've got robotic lobsters, elephant trunks and even big dogs. But what about robotic lamprey parasites?
Robot Turtle Madeline Flipper Science
Cool robo-turtle executes complex maneuvers effortlessly due to its flipper controls.
(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction.)