This snake-like robot seems like it’s straight out of “The Matrix” movie — however, it is decidedly less sinister.
The robot named “Eelume” is actually an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) which serves more or less like a “subsea janitor.”
Statoil, a Norwegian oil and gas company, and Kongsberg Maritime, a technology company partnered with Norwegian University of Science and Technology to develop the swimming robot.
The eel-shaped robot can swim by itself and has thrusters that can increase its maneuvering speed. Developers believe Eelume will be instrumental in reducing the cost of maintaining undersea equipment and reduce the need for large subsea vessels and man power.
“Eelume robots will be permanently installed on the seabed and will perform planned and on-demand inspections and interventions. The solution can be installed on both existing and new fields where typical jobs include; visual inspection, cleaning, and adjusting valves and chokes. These jobs account for a large part of the total subsea inspection and intervention spend,” said Kongsberg.
According to the Eelume website, the existing underwater infrastructure is aging and maintenance and repair demands are expected to increase shortly. It also states that underwater operation costs have increased almost three-folds since the past decade.
Replacing or repairing the instrument underwater comes at a great cost, but Eelume is expected to reduce these expenses exponentially.