Collaboration on swimming robots for subsea maintenance
19 April 2016
NTNU spin-off company Eelume collaborates with Kongsberg Maritime and Statoil to develop swimming robots for subsea inspection and light intervention.
Kongsberg Maritime and Statoil have signed an agreement with Eelume to accelerate new technology that will significantly reduce costs related to subsea inspection, maintenance and repair operations.
NTNU and Sintef have conducted research on snake robotics for more than ten years. Eelume is now developing a disruptive solution for underwater inspection and maintenance in the form of a swimming robot. The idea is to let these robots do inspection and light intervention jobs on the seabed, reducing the use of large and expensive vessels. With its snake-like form, the slender and flexible body of the Eelume robot provides access to confined areas that are difficult to access with existing technology.
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.
Complementing each other
The combined efforts now include an exciting mix of entrepreneurial spirit, industrial competence, technology and a demanding end-customer. The result is a very robust development process from idea to market.
"With our innovative expertise in the field of snake robotics Eelume can bring these amazing robots into an industrial setting. Now we take the step from academia and into the commercial world to secure our place in the new and exciting subsea intervention landscape", says Pål Liljebäck CTO Eelume.
"This partnership offers the chance to bring radical technology to the market, not just in what the Eelume robot can do, but how it does it," says Bjørn Jalving, Executive Vice President Subsea Division at Kongsberg Maritime. "It is a new tool that will enable operators to realise large scale cost savings by introducing new ways of conducting routine tasks and helping prevent unscheduled shutdowns by reacting instantly when required."
"Eelume is a good example of how new technology and innovation contributes to cost reduction. Instead of using large and expensive vessels for small jobs, we now introduce a flexible robot acting as a self going janitor on the seabed. To support smaller companies in bringing new technology to the market is an important part of our research portfolio», says Statoil's Chief technology officer Elisabeth Birkeland Kvalheim.
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Video courtesy of Kongsberg Maritime.