About this Research Topic

Manuscript Submission Deadline 11 November 2022

The animals that live in the marine environment have evolved unique sensory systems that increase their situational awareness. For example, fish have lateral line sensory systems that allow them to locate objects a few body lengths away, and weakly electric fish have electrical sensors that can detect prey even in noisy conditions. In addition, seals have ultrasensitive whiskers that can track the hydrodynamic trails left behind by fish a long distance away. Over millions of years, these species have evolved mechanotransduction sensors and sensing mechanisms perfectly suited to challenging environments. Fish and seals use these sense organs to perceive and localize local information, enabling them to perform impressive actions like schooling, escaping predators, and hunting for food in murky conditions.


Diverse types of underwater robots, including remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), and underwater bionic robots, have been developed in recent years and are widely used in the sustainable development of marine economies, the extraction of underwater resources, and the protection of marine ecosystems. However, due to the complex underwater operating environments with complications such as seawater corrosion, dim light, disturbed magnetic fields, and complex terrain, sensor systems-based environment detection and information interaction among swarms of underwater robots are challenging. While visual and acoustic sensors can provide solutions, their performance may be limited in low visibility and complex terrains.

In the last few years, several artificial electrical perception systems and lateral line systems have been developed and applied to the localization of underwater targets and the recognition and control of underwater robots. For example, artificial lateral lines composed of pressure sensor arrays and artificial electrical perception systems based on alternating electrodes have been proven to operate under complex terrain and dim light conditions, thereby improving underwater robot perception.

To provide solutions to the challenge mentioned above, here we organize the ‘Bionic Sensing Technology of Underwater Robots’ Research Topic to present the latest underwater sensing technologies inspired by the optimally evolved sensory systems of marine organisms and applications of the novel sensing technologies on underwater robots.


We welcome papers about research on flow sensing mechanisms of marine organisms and their biomimetic applications on underwater robots in such a topic.

This Research Topic will explore themes including, but not limited to:
• Hydrodynamics in swimming robots
• Sensing and locomotion control in swimming robots
• Collective behaviour in groups of underwater robots
• Investigation of flow sensing mechanisms of marine organisms
• Exploration of the behavior, movement, and migration patterns of marine organisms
• Marine organism-inspired sensory systems and their applications on underwater robots
• Biomimetic materials and their applications on underwater robots

Keywords: Bionic sensing, Underwater robot, Biomimetics, Bioinspiration, Bio-inspired robots, Sensory systems, Biomechanics, Hydrodynamic interaction


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The animals that live in the marine environment have evolved unique sensory systems that increase their situational awareness. For example, fish have lateral line sensory systems that allow them to locate objects a few body lengths away, and weakly electric fish have electrical sensors that can detect prey even in noisy conditions. In addition, seals have ultrasensitive whiskers that can track the hydrodynamic trails left behind by fish a long distance away. Over millions of years, these species have evolved mechanotransduction sensors and sensing mechanisms perfectly suited to challenging environments. Fish and seals use these sense organs to perceive and localize local information, enabling them to perform impressive actions like schooling, escaping predators, and hunting for food in murky conditions.


Diverse types of underwater robots, including remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), and underwater bionic robots, have been developed in recent years and are widely used in the sustainable development of marine economies, the extraction of underwater resources, and the protection of marine ecosystems. However, due to the complex underwater operating environments with complications such as seawater corrosion, dim light, disturbed magnetic fields, and complex terrain, sensor systems-based environment detection and information interaction among swarms of underwater robots are challenging. While visual and acoustic sensors can provide solutions, their performance may be limited in low visibility and complex terrains.

In the last few years, several artificial electrical perception systems and lateral line systems have been developed and applied to the localization of underwater targets and the recognition and control of underwater robots. For example, artificial lateral lines composed of pressure sensor arrays and artificial electrical perception systems based on alternating electrodes have been proven to operate under complex terrain and dim light conditions, thereby improving underwater robot perception.

To provide solutions to the challenge mentioned above, here we organize the ‘Bionic Sensing Technology of Underwater Robots’ Research Topic to present the latest underwater sensing technologies inspired by the optimally evolved sensory systems of marine organisms and applications of the novel sensing technologies on underwater robots.


We welcome papers about research on flow sensing mechanisms of marine organisms and their biomimetic applications on underwater robots in such a topic.

This Research Topic will explore themes including, but not limited to:
• Hydrodynamics in swimming robots
• Sensing and locomotion control in swimming robots
• Collective behaviour in groups of underwater robots
• Investigation of flow sensing mechanisms of marine organisms
• Exploration of the behavior, movement, and migration patterns of marine organisms
• Marine organism-inspired sensory systems and their applications on underwater robots
• Biomimetic materials and their applications on underwater robots

Keywords: Bionic sensing, Underwater robot, Biomimetics, Bioinspiration, Bio-inspired robots, Sensory systems, Biomechanics, Hydrodynamic interaction


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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