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Blueye Robotics launches underwater drone

Written by  OE Staff Friday, 19 May 2017 14:46

Trondheim, Noway-based Blueye Robotics has developed an underwater drone called Blueye Pioneer, which the company says allows shipowners, vessel crew, and shipyards to perform hull inspections without the need of divers or ROVs (remotely operated vehicles).

“We are providing vessels crews with an industrial drone that can be operated by anyone capable of using a smartphone or a tablet PC. Perhaps just as important is that it is priced reasonably at approximately US$4000-5000 per drone system. This will allow for several drones onboard to make inspections even quicker, which in turn means higher operational reliability and uptime for the vessel,” says Erik Dyrkoren, CEO of Blueye Robotics.

Vessel hulls regularly require both ad-hoc and periodic inspections during transit and when entering ports. For example to check the vessel's structural integrity, inlets and discharge valves, rudder, propeller, coating levels and possible corrosion. Eyes under the waterline are also required to check the hull for explosives and smuggling of contraband.

The Blueye Pioneer is designed to both user-friendly and satisfy industrial reliability requirements for underwater operations.

The drone is equipped with powerful thrusters that allows it to operate in heavy currents and dive to 150m water depth. Live video is transmitted via a thin umbilical cable to the surface and thereafter wirelessly to the user, who may either be located onboard a vessel or onshore. The drone is compact (45 cm x 25 cm x 35 cm) and weighs only seven kilos.

“By providing vessel owners and their crew with easy and cost-efficient access to what is below the waterline, we also give them the opportunity to address potential hull issues before they become a problem. Combined with lower than usual capex, we believe this drone can make hull inspections more frequent and less problematic,” Dyrkoren says.

Blueye Robotics is a company that spun off from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Centre for Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems (NTNU AMOS).

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