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Underwater drone launched for hull inspections

The Blueye Pioneer underwater drone The Blueye Pioneer underwater drone

Trondheim-based Blueye Robotics, a company which originated from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Centre for Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems (NTNU AMOS), has developed an underwater drone that can perform hull inspections without the need for divers or ROVs.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}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.

Outside of dry-docking periods, inspections below the waterline are today normally carried out by divers or ROVs (remotely operated vehicles). Blueye Robotics is hoping that its new Blueye Pioneer underwater drone technology will offer another alternative.

“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$4,000 to $5,000 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,” said Erik Dyrkoren, CEO of Blueye Robotics.

The 7kg drone is equipped with thrusters that allow it to operate in heavy currents and dive to 150 metres water depth. Live video is transmitted via a thin umbilical cable to the surface and thereafter wirelessly to the user.{/mprestriction}

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