HONOLULU (KHON2) — A robotic dive buddy was built by the Bishop Museum.

This dive buddy, also known as the Coordinated Operational Platform for Underwater Science was put together by Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum and Sunfish Inc.

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COPUS was developed with help from Schmidt Marine Technology Partners in order to explore the ocean at even deeper depths and for longer periods of time.

“Although coral reef habitats extend to depths of 200 meters (660 feet) or more, the vast majority of research has concentrated on depths shallower than about 30 meters (100 feet)  only about 15 percent of this biologically diverse and important habitat,” said Richard Pyle, PhD, Bishop Museum senior curator of Ichthyology and director of XCoRE.

COPUS is currently undergoing a field mission at Kaneohe Bay for tests.

The AUV is designed to capture high-resolution images, maps of coral reefs, the collection of data on water quality and biological samples.

It will also be able to make sure the divers it is with are safe by monitoring their life-support equipment, maintaining communication between the divers and surface team and even carrying safety equipment.

COPUS was named after Dr. Joshua Copus, a Bishop Museum curator of Ichthyology who died during a diving accident in the Soloman Islands in 2019.

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COPUS is expected to do its first deep dive next year.