New ‘sea snake’ robot slithers into offshore industry

A new underwater robot travels like a sea snake to help inspect and repair offshore pipelines and oil rigs. The innovative remote-controlled device has been designed and developed by Norwegian firm Eelume, which claims […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

A new underwater robot travels like a sea snake to help inspect and repair offshore pipelines and oil rigs.

The innovative remote-controlled device has been designed and developed by Norwegian firm Eelume, which claims it could “reshape” the offshore energy industry.

It takes the form of a dexterous robotic arm which can carry out a wide range of intervention tasks – a modular construction means it can be equipped with a variety of lights, cameras and tools and also allows it to be lengthened and shortened as needed.

The robot’s flexibility is expected to be able to reduce the need for large and expensive surface vessels, making the industry safer, greener and more cost efficient.

Eelume says it can also remain underwater permanently, docking at stations at the bottom of the sea, meaning it would not be disrupted by weather above the surface.

Arne Kjørsvik, CEO of Eelume, said: “The system has proven itself to be a very capable inspection tool able to reach confined areas with ease.

“Potential operators and end customers have shown a lot of interest in Eelume, not just because it is an interesting technology but also because it can do things that no other vehicle can.”

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