Gavin Cotter ’23


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Project Title

Efficient Propulsion of Tunabot

Presentation Link

View Gavin 's Presentation

Certificate(s): Finance, Robotics and Intelligent Systems

My internship focused on improving a robotic tuna (Tunabot) to develop a more efficient underwater propulsion system. Most systems use a propeller design that, while functional, is generally slow moving, has restricted maneuverability, and creates significant noise. To overcome these limitations, research is being done to incorporate elements from aquatic species such as tuna, which have evolved highly efficient underwater locomotion with high maneuverability and low noise. Previous research conducted in the lab had found the most efficient combination of tail and caudal (tail) fin motion. I used the computer-aided design software Creo to design a new tail for Tunabot that incorporated the more efficient tail motion. The final design will be built and tested during the fall 2021 semester. I was able to learn more about the fluid dynamics of swimming animals and the usefulness of biomimetic robots. I also spent a lot of time working with and learning more about Creo. All of my experiences during this internship utilized and helped expand the skills I have been learning in my studies and further supported my interest in fluid dynamics.

Internship Year


Project Category

Innovation and a New Energy Future


Smits Fluid Mechanics Lab, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University


Alexander Smits, Eugene Higgins Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Emeritus; Liuyang Ding, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering