Transportation in the poles can be life threatening because these crevasses can be as big as 30 feet wide and 200 feet deep, posing a big challenge for commuters. Snow accumulation on these crevasses makes it more challenging, since the crevasses are camouflaged and cannot be seen under the sheet of snow. Now this threatening situation can take a back seat as United States Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL), Hanover has developed a robot called Yeti, which will detect the crevasses well in advance and will ensure safety of people carrying fuel to the research stations in Antarctica and Greenland.
Yeti, is basically a small, one square meter robot vehicle designed to slide over rough terrains of snow while using ground piecing radar technology for detecting hidden crevasses. The radar technology uses electromagnetic radiation to find out the reflected signals from the depths of ground. When the radar detects any crevasse, the data on Yeti shows an interference pattern that has a customized appearance and the commuter gets to know about it.
In far flung research stations of Antarctica and Greenland, the stations require huge amounts of fuel for running day to day operations well, which need to be transported from the coasts. If transported by plane, the costs become as high as $8000, per flight. The burgeoning costs of flight operations make it difficult to cater to the services through air route.
The advent of Yeti will change the scene dramatically as the costs of fuel transportation will go down drastically and the life threatening crevasses will be detected much earlier. So far, Yeti has been to Greenland and Antarctica and has fared well in both the places in detecting the crevasses beforehand. Currently, Yeti is in Greenland going through final tests and repairs. After the testing stage, the robot will be fully functional.
In near future, the technology of Yeti will also be transferred to a cool robot. The cool robot can run for longer durations than the three hours of battery life of Yeti. The cool robot will be used in day light and Yeti will be used in darker months. Funding for this mega project has come from National Science Foundation and NASA's Jet propulsion Laboratory.