Member Spotlight: Boston Engineering

Boston Engineering’s robotic systems include, from top, the BIOSwimmer, the CLIMBER, and the Crawler.

Boston Engineering Corporation ( has been providing engineering consulting services for over 25 years. As an engineering design firm, Boston Engineering supports the entire product development process—from providing product engineering consulting to delivering the product lifecycle management (PLM) tools and infrastructure. Boston Engineering is ISO-certified and applies its phase-gate process to ensure that projects succeed within tight deadlines, focused budgets, and stringent regulatory requirements. The company is organized into three divisions: industrial, defense, and medical. Companies and consumer device companies in these industries trust Boston Engineering to turn their bold visions into a novel and life-changing products and systems. Boston Engineering assists other companies to commercialize their ideas by providing electromechanical products, systems, and/or expertise in DFx (Design for X: Manufacturability, Assembly, Serviceability, Reliability, and Testability).

Boston Engineering additionally offers a variety of technical solutions to its government and commercial customers. Robotic systems are one example of this, beginning with the development of the GhostSwimmer/BIOswimmer Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) in 2007. To date, the company has expanded this technology base to include robots and supporting systems/equipment. Some examples include:

  • GhostSwimmer | Biomimetic in Oil Swimmer (BIOSwimmer):  Underwater Unmanned Vehicles (UUVs) that are autonomous or wirelessly controlled with an oscillating tail (swims like a fish) for GhostSwimmer, and one that has an articulating tail section with a thruster at the end of the tail (for BIOSwimmer) that allows them to turn in their own diameter.
  • CLIMBER:  A tank inspection robot that uses magnetic strips placed on wheels to control its movement and is utilized to monitor tank surfaces remotely without human intervention.
  • Crawler:  A surface robot with soft spongy rolling treads that allows it to attach itself to vertical surfaces using vacuum suction to perform inspections, remediation, and application of materials.
  • Thermal Spray Robotic Vehicle (TSRV): A large (bus size) robotic vehicle capable of supporting both surface preparation and application of thermal spray coatings on shipboard decks.
  • Marine UltraViolet Antifouling (MUVA):  An assembly that utilizes UVC (C band UV light) as the primary fouling control to prevent biological growth on ships and submarines, decreasing drag and thus fuel usage.

The benefits of Boston Engineering’s specific robotic platforms include increased safety for personnel in hazardous working environments, cost efficiency, and simplified operation via a common controller. The company expands beyond the platform-centric mindset and considers the broader approach to modern robotics, which includes a more dynamic set of requirements, challenges, and user needs. Boston Engineering’s team actively develops within open-source software tools (ROS) and drives interoperability to maximize collaboration, cognizant that integration of a third-party sensor or tool may be the best approach for a specific customer. One example of this broader mindset and approach is the company’s consideration for a family of shipyard or industrial robotics, articulated in the accompanying diagram.

Boston Engineering supports its customers by providing technical solutions to challenging problems in addition to structuring collaborations that can shape clients’ capability using interoperable solutions. The company’s capabilities help support US Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, and Homeland Security personnel in addition to commercial clients. To learn more, see