Late September, MIT researchers unveiled an oval-shaped submersible robot at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. The football-sized machine can perform ultrasound scans underwater, looking for cracks in nuclear reactors’ water tanks. The robot could also inspect ships for false hulls and propeller shafts that smugglers use to hide contraband.

The robot’s designers say that a small fleet of the relatively inexpensive robots (estimated at around $600) could replace typical inspection processes, ultimately saving money on port security. While the model presented at the conference was just a prototype, the 3-D printed device opens a door to new possibilities for underwater surveillance and scanning at ports.

What do you think of using more unmanned robotics to scan for contraband and danger in port security? Tell us in the comments section below.