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Preliminary Research and Documentation

The following research and documentation is meant to get this project started. Please consider this a work in progress. Significant work is needed to move this project forward.


The following components are required to build Manta.

  • Jet propulsion booster system - To propel Manta.
  • Body - A water-proof and aerodynamic body that hold a payload of 350 kilograms, houses antennas, sensors, lights, circuits.
  • Docking station - A docking station that is installed at all terminals. The docking stations charge Manta-1 and unlock storage chamber.
  • Storage chamber - A modular chamber with a number of smaller chambers of different sizes. Each smaller chamber can be opened with a unique code generated from the Manta software application.
  • Cameras - Multiple underwater cameras that can take high resolution pictures and transfer them to a computer.
  • Lighting system - A set of high powered lighting system to illuminate the sea bed for better picture quality.
  • SONAR - An active SONAR unit to map the underwater structures and surfaces.
  • Proximity sensor - Proximity sensor to safeguard the Manta from crashing into rocks and boulders in the water.
  • Salinity sensor - Salinity sensor and circuit to measure salinity of the water.
  • pH sensor - A pH sensor to measure the acidity or alkalinity of the water.
  • Thermometer - A thermometer to measure the temperature of water.
  • Antenna - An antenna that can exchange data from the source.
  • Transmitter - A transmitter that can receive signals from the sensory unit and relay the information to the software.
  • Manta Software - Software to schedule the pickup and drop points, schedules and payloads. The software also stores bathymetric data, high resolution underwater images, data from the sensors and writes it to a server for processing further.

Jet Propulsion Booster System

Manta-1 needs a powerful, yet efficient jet propulsion system that can propel Manta, body weight, weight of batteries, cameras, antenna, lights, etc., and also carry payloads up to 200 kilograms. The propulsion system must be capable of powering Manta-1 to reach speeds up to 50 knots (92.6 kmph).


Manta is built using a light material that is waterproof, weather resistant, impact resistant. The body is aerodynamic and can sail and dive. It has a storage capacity of 350 liters and can deliver a payload of 200 kilograms. It also houses lights, sensors, antenna, and other circuitry. 

Docking Station

Manta has a docking station that is designed to accomplish the following:

  • Upon docking, Manta batteries need to start charging from the charging points in the docking station. The charging points on the docking station and on Manta-1 need to be waterproof.
  • Upon docking, the outer storage cover is unlocked and the storage container from within is pushed up using hydraulic mechanism. The storage container has a door can be opened by a user, using a 4 digit code that is generated in the application.


Figure 1 - Schematic diagram of the storage container placed in the Manta-1 storage space.

Storage Container

The storage container is modular and has separate compartments. One of the compartment is an ice-box and refrigerator that can keep groceries and medicines at the required temperature. Alternatively, an ice-box and a casserole can be considered.

The storage container is removable from the storage space and replaced by another storage container.


8 high resolution cameras are placed around the body of Manta-1. 

  • 2 cameras in the front, under the headlights
  • 4 cameras on the wings - 2 and 2 on the farthest tip of each wing.
  • 2 cameras in the back next to the propellers
  • 2 cameras in the rear next to the propellers
Feature Value or description
Resolution (still images) Between 17 Megapixels to 21 Megapixels 
Image size Between 5472 x 3648 pixels and 4736 x 3552 pixels
Lens size f1.7 to f2.8
Still frame rate 11 FPS to 30 FPS
Coverage Angle Viewing angle of 120°
Battery life 120 minutes
Output formats JPG, PNG, 
Date and Time stamp

The cameras must have the option to display date and time. All 3 cameras must be set to the exact date and time in the following formats:

Time - HH:MM:SS


Optional - The date and time can be set to or  Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) or Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)  standard time and converted to local time in the software application or vice versa.


A set of high powered lighting system to illuminate the sea for better visibility and picture quality. The recommended specifications for the lights are:

Feature Value or Description
Size Each ring of 8 lights must not be more than 2 inches in height
Type LED
Brightness Between 1500 lumens and 2000 lumens
Lighting distance At least 5 meters (?) underwater


SONAR (Sound Navigation and Ranging) is used to navigate Manta-1. The SONAR unit is installed in the front, on the wings and in the rear. The SONAR pings are programmed to increase or decrease the speed of Manta-1. For example, if all 3 sonar units record no obstacles in the next 60 feet, Manta-1 can accelerate. If there are obstacles from any one of the SONAR units, Manta-1 can decelerate and maneuver to avoid accidentally crashing into them. These SONAR units complement the proximity sensors.

Proximity Sensors

A proximity sensor detects presence of other objects and/or marine creatures within a given range. Proximity sensors are installed i in the front, on the wings and on the tail of Manta-1. These sensors safeguard Manta-1 against crashing into ships, coral reefs, or rocks and boulders under the surface of the water. This has a range of 30.48 centimeters (1 foot) - in all directions. Signals are transmitted through cables and wires through the shaft to the antenna and then on to the console on the boat. These proximity sensors complement the SONAR units. 

Salinity Sensor

A salinity sensor measures the salinity of sea water and other solutions. The data is transmitted through cables and over the transmitter to the console on the ship.  The salinity sensor must be capable of measuring the entire range of 24-52,000 ppm (parts per million) of sea water.

pH Sensor

A pH sensor measure the pH value of sea water (salinity). The data is transmitted through cables over the transmitter to the console on the ship. 

Thermometer (temperature sensor)

The temperature of water changes as we go deeper into the ocean. The thermometer records water temperature at different depths. The data is transmitted through cables and over the antenna/transmitter to the console on the ship.


An antenna transmitter is installed on Manta-1 that receives data from the following:

  • High resolution pictures from the cameras 
  • Depth information from the SONAR/depth logger
  • Ocean bed surface data from the proximity sensor
  • Salinity data from the salinity sensor
  • pH values from the pH sensor
  • Temperature

The transmitter transmits  this data to the console on the ship for analysis and storage. This data is then parsed and information is uploaded to Manta software application.

Manta software application

The Manta software application receives all this data and stores it on the cloud. Other applications can use this data for analysis and further processing.


This project is being developed as an open-source project with the following licensing: