Shark Hunting Robot Attacked By Great Whites

The REMUS SharkCam is an underwater robot designed to stalk the ocean’s most feared predators, yet it became the prey recently as several great whites turned on it, trying to take a bite out of the cylindrical automaton.

The REMUS (Remote Environmental Monitoring UnitS) is a torpedo-shaped object bristling with six cameras implanted at different angles to catch footage of the animals it stalks. Set to follow an acoustic tag that researchers pin on a shark, the unit has been dubbed “SharkCam” for its Discovery Channel Shark Week debut next week, Business Insider notes.

Operated by scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, REMUS was deployed last November in the waters off Guadalupe, Mexico, in an effort to track and film great white sharks in their natural habitat. According to Discover magazine, great whites are known to actively hunt giant elephant seals in the area. As the video of the operation reveals, however, the white sharks weren’t so happy to have the REMUS following them.

The video reveals the individualized attack styles of the great whites in stunning detail, thanks to the panoramic nature of REMUS’ cameras. Some of the sharks displayed territorial behavior toward the robot, ramming it with their nose rather than biting it. Other great whites took advantage of the clear water to lurk below REMUS, striking at its tail or mid-section in attacks that are clearly meant to be predatory. The behavior exhibited is the same kind that is observed when great whites hunt elephant seals. Attacks of this nature often result in the shark breaching the surface of the water, as The Inquisitr has previously reported.

REMUS survived several predatory shark attacks, and managed to record “dozens of interactions with great white sharks,” according to the institution. The video it captured has revealed the sharks as strategic predators who hunt and interact with their environment in complex ways.

Footage of REMUS’ mission, which was filmed by Big Wave Productions, will debut on the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, which is set to begin August 10. REMUS will be used in the future to trail other large marine animals, after surviving the great white shark attacks.

[Image via Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution]