Snake-Like Robot from Eelume to Perform Subsea Maintenance Jobs


We reported before on flying drones, developed with the goal of inspecting oil and gas facilities. This is an interesting space to save costs and avoid workers getting into dangerous situations.

However, we have quite a bit of infrastructure in the seas as well. The longest underwater gas pipeline is 724 miles long and there are many like that. All those pipes and systems are subject to depreciation and need to go through maintenance regularly.

The problem and a possible solution

Now, how do you run inspections underwater like that? Forget about a diving team. That would take too long and in some instances, they couldn’t even reach deep enough.

There is a company from Norway and they are called Eelume. They were established in 2015 as a spin-off from a project of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). They are working on a technology that partially mimics the movement of snakes to submerge and get around under water.

Eelume is part of Kongsberg Maritime and Kongsberg Group. They are also partners of Statoil and Inventas.

Eelume is a disruptive technology for subsea inspection, maintenance and repair (IMR). Eelume 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. Our vehicles are engineered to live permanently under water, where they can be mobilized 24/7 regardless of weather conditions. A continuous IMR capability near the subsea installations without the need for surface vessels means greener, safer and less costly subsea operations. 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.

The subsea janitor

A humble nickname for an impressive technology. Eelume calls their product the “subsea janitor” and designed their snake robot to perform several maintenance jobs on underwater infrastructure.

Previous prototypes of the subsea janitor looked a little bit more like an actual snake. The current version looks a lot more like something that would actually get deployed in the related industries.

What does the Eelume team say about their solution?

On their website they define the key aspects of their technology like this, “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.”


YouTube: Eelume – Reshaping Underwater Operations

Photo credit: Eelume
Source: Data sources have been linked in the copy.

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Christopher Isak
Christopher Isak
Hi there and thanks for reading my article! I'm Chris the founder of TechAcute. I write about technology news and share experiences from my life in the enterprise world. Drop by on Twitter and say 'hi' sometime. ;)
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