WOODS HOLE — An underwater robot designed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution engineers to track and film great white sharks is the star of a Discovery Channel special that will air two more times this week. “Return of Jaws,” a follow-up program to the 2011 program “Jaws Comes Home” that discussed the return of great white sharks to the Cape Cod shoreline, features underwater footage of a great white captured by a modified autonomous underwater vehicle, or AUV, called a REMUS 100.
The hour-long special is part of Discovery's annual Shark Week programming spree. The show was filmed off Chatham and follows Massachusetts shark expert Greg Skomal on a tagging trip with Cape Cod Sharkhunters. The REMUS (which stands for remote environmental monitoring units) is a 5-foot-long, low-cost, versatile device with the ability to have sensors and equipment swapped out for a variety of tasks. But according to an article in WHOI's Oceanus magazine, it had to be extensively reprogrammed to track a moving object — in this case, a great white shark.
Engineers tested the reprogrammed REMUS by having it track Skomal as he swam a predetermined pattern through local waters. It passed that test, and in early 2012, the Discovery Channel approved the shark filming expedition, Oceanus reported.