It slithers along the dark water’s surface, a beam of light emanating from its anterior. And then, it submerges to investigate the world below.
While the above description may sound like a sea monster sighting of yesteryear, it actually has a manmade explanation.
Roboticists have long been exploring the efficacy of snake robots in a variety of fields, from medical surgery to search-and-rescue missions in disaster areas. Now, Norwegian companies are banding together to create snake robots meant for subsea inspection, maintenance, and repair.
Norwegian University of Science and Technology spinoff company Eelume recently signed an agreement with Kongsberg Maritime and Statoil to accelerate the technology’s development.
According to Kongsberg, the snake robots will be installed on the seabed and could replace the use of larger vessels.
“This partnership offers the chance to bring radical technology to the market, not just in what the Eelume robot can do, but how it does it,” said Bjørn Jalving, Kongsberg Maritime’s subsea division’s executive vice president, in a statement. “It is a new tool that will enable operators to realize large-scale cost savings by introducing new ways of conducting routine tasks and helping prevent unscheduled shutdowns by reacting instantly when required.”
Due to its maneuverability, the companies said that the snake robot will be able to function in confined areas, which once posed problems for maintenance.
“Now we take the step from academia and into the commercial world to secure our place in the new and exciting subsea intervention landscape,” said Eelume CTO Pål Liljebäck in a statement.
You can check out the robot in the following videos.
Swimming Robot for Maintenance and Inspections
Swimming Robot With Thrusters
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