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Video: This snake robot can fix pipelines on the ocean floor

March 15, 2021

A new, advanced, underwater drone is being developed to help the deep-sea oil and gas industry install, maintain, and inspect thousands of kilometers of ocean pipelines.

 

Eelume is a disruptive technology for subsea inspection, maintenance and repair (IMR). The vehicles are basically self-propelled robotic arms whose slender and flexible body can transit over long distances and carry out IMR in confined spaces not accessible by conventional underwater vehicles.

 
 

Eelume is a 19 foot (six-meter) long snake-like robot that uses cameras and sensors for underwater navigation.

 

Based in Trondheim, Norway, the company was spun off from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Liljebäck says that by "enabling the robot to become a subsea resident living in a docking station, it can be mobilized at any time to do inspections and intervention tasks, and thereby reducing the need for costly surface vessels."

 
 
 

Subsea Resident

Designed to live subsea by being connected to a docking station on the seabed.

 

Safer and Greener

A resident solution which can be mobilized 24/7 without the need for a surface vessel enables safer, greener and more cost efficient subsea operations.

 

Modular System

Adaptable to a wide range of subsea operations. Modules can be connected in different combinations to form various types of vehicles.

 

Intervention

The vehicle itself is a dexterous robotic arm which can operate tools and carry out intervention tasks.

 

Long Range

The slender and torpedo-shaped vehicle can transit over long distances like a survey AUV.

 

Access Difficult Areas

The flexible and slender body can access and operate in restricted areas of subsea structures.

 

Eelume vehicles are modular combinations of joints, thrusters and various payload modules. The slender body allows for precision hovering and maneuvering even in strong ocean currents.
 


Sensors and tools can be mounted anywhere along the flexible body. A dual-arm configuration is achieved by mounting tooling in each end and forming the vehicle body into a U-shape. One end of the arm can grab hold to fixate the vehicle, while the other end can carry out inspection and intervention tasks. One end of the arm can also provide a perspective camera view of a tool operation carried out at the other end.

All these flexible operational scenarios are made possible by the unique shape-changing capabilities of the Eelume vehicles.
 


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