It’s not a secret. The offshore industry pays way too much for subsea robotics service. That’s because the robot isn’t fit for purpose. We think that another class of vehicle is needed. It’s not an AUV. It’s not an ROV. We built an all-electric underwater transformer, Aquanaut. We then implemented novel technology in order to remove the need for a tether while still ensuring command authority with an operator. Welcome to subsea robotics 2.0.
AUV mode enables efficient long distance missions
When in AUV mode, Aquanaut can cover up to 200 km (108 nmi) in one mission while accomplishing typical AUV tasks like seabed mapping, and wide area structure inspection. We threw in a few cool features to set Aquanaut apart from other AUVs, like vertical thrust control, and a articulating bow.
The Aquanaut transforms by actuating 4 in-house designed and built high-reliability linear actuators. The hull separates in one fluid motion, exposing two additional control thrusters, the vehicle arms, and adding another degree of freedom to the vehicle head mechanism.
Turn a valve. Use a subsea tool. Scan structures. Aquanaut can accomplish these advanced subsea operations with just a few mouse clicks. Our operators use mouse clicks, not joysticks, to operate Aquanaut. Our multi-mode machine vision system is comprised of acoustic, optical, and laser based tools that are processed into a dynamic point cloud using the computing power available onboard the vehicle. The point cloud is then compressed using our revolutionary new compression technology which offers compression ratios between 5,000:1 and 75,000:1 (Depending on the scene quality). The operator maintains supervisory control over the vehicle whether onboard a support ship or from the comfort of our home office.
The Benefits of Aquanaut
It’s Just More Efficient
Working offshore isn’t easy when using conventional technology. Large crews are needed to support the legacy technology in today’s ROVs and vessels need to be sufficiently sized and provisioned to carry the crew and the workers required to keep the vessel in safe operating condition. By removing the tether from the vehicle and then automating the manual tasks an ROV does we can remove the need for a manned support vessel, keeping staff onshore in a comfortable and safe environment.
Value Where Value Exists
Present CONOPS on the ocean focus on vessel operations and cost because vessels are typically the biggest cost of any offshore operation. We think this is why innovation has been stifled. Offshore service companies must become vessel companies in order to realize the efficiency of vertically integrated business models. Disrupting your own business model is typically a hard pitch to make to investors. We don’t own any vessels, and we don’t want to. To us, there is no value in mobilization or demobilization (Mob/Demob) – we are just trying to get somewhere to do work. Aquanaut is a portable system, and therefore Mob/Demob doesn’t need to be costly, nor will we ever charge more than it costs us to do it.
Equipment and People Safe
Aquanaut is designed to operate in the vicinity of important subsea equipment and people. Therefore, we have adopted a novel safety stack in which the robot (Aquanaut) can sense the force it is imparting on structures with it’s manipulators. We couple our force torque technology with an influence sphere so that Aquanaut knows how much force it should apply, how much force is being applied, and the total area where the vehicle may influence it’s environment. We have tied all of this together in the most advanced safety stack of any underwater robot.
Learn more about what we can do for you.
Contact Houston Mechatronics to learn more about our services and technologies.