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Underwater robot with needle and thread

Underwater operations in aquaculture cages with a diameter of 157 meters, is time consuming and dangerous work. Now researchers from SINTEF is developing an underwater robot that can perform systematic and effective cleaning and inspection and also be able to repair damage to the nets and prevent escapes.

Underwater robots, or ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicle) are already in use in aquaculture industry for cleaning and inspection of nets, but they are not customized for aquaculture operations. Today, it is limited what tasks can be be solved by using ROV. Since it is only controlled manually using images from the camera on the ROV, one is totally dependent on skilled and experienced operators. One of the main objectives of this project is the development of navigation- and control systems in order to know exactly where the ROV is in relation to the net.

Saves valuable time
Today ROV is used for inspection and cleaning of the nets. If you see signs of holes upon inspection you must send for a diver to go down to make further investigations and repairs. This is costly, risky and time consuming work. The new robot should carry out systematic inspection and automatically detect holes. Upon discovery of any hole, the ROV could repair it using a specialy developed tool immediately. If scientists are able to develop this, the need for detection and repair of most kinds of damage on the net could be handled by the robot.

Full-scale experiments
The new ROV is still on the drawing board, but during the project, a demonstrator will be tested in full-scale cage at Lerøy Hydrotechs localities. -This project will ensure better procedures and reduce hazardous operations, and it is important that we try out new technology in the actual environment to ensure that the tool can be used as soon as possible, says project leader Per Rundtop.

Published 08 June 2012

Porject duration:

15/01/2012 - 15/01/2015