Autonomous and remotely operated underwater vehicles allow us to reach places which have previously been inaccessible and perform complex reparation, exploration and analysis tasks. As their
navigation is not infallible, they may cause severe damage to themselves and their often quite fragile surroundings, such as flooded caves, coral reefs or even accompanying divers in case of a
Instead of using rigid encasings, many unicellular organisms such as ciliates, bacteria or algae tolerate impacts. These organisms are only separated from their environment by a single membrane or mostly unsclerotized cell walls. Based on the concept of a “soft exoskeleton” we have developed a biologically inspired, soft and compliant encasing for an underwater vehicle. Our exoskeleton is a versatile and passive solution to protect both the vehicle and its surrounding.