Kongsberg Maritime and Statoil have signed an agreement with Eelume, a spin-off of Norway’s NTNU R&D organization, for the accelerated development of a ‘snake robot’ for subsea inspection, maintenance and repair. Eelume’s snake, the fruit of 10 years research, is an autonomous, swimming robot that will reduce the requirement for support vessels. Its slender, flexible body enables access to confined areas. Eelume robots will be permanently installed on the seabed ready to be woken-up to perform planned or on-demand inspections and interventions. Typical jobs include visual inspection, and cleaning and adjusting valves and chokes. These are said to account for a large part of the total subsea inspection and intervention spend.
Kongsberg Maritime is to contribute its experience and marine robotics technology to the venture while Statoil will provide access to real installations for testing and qualification. CTO Pål Liljebäck said, ‘Eelume is the first company in the world to bring these robots into an industrial setting. We are now moving from academia into the commercial world.’ Asgeir Sørensen, director of the NTNU Centre for autonomous marine operations and systems added, ‘Eelume is the 5th spin-off company from NTNU Amos.’ Watch the snake in action on YouTube.
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