Slithering serpentine robot snakes its way to seabed inspections
It looks like something you'd want to steer clear of in a video game, and most likely real life as well, but this menacing mechanical snake isn't out to hurt anybody. Developed to cut the costs of maintaining underwater equipment, the Eelume robot is designed to be unleashed permanently on seabeds where it will glide through tight spaces tending to gear that is difficult and expensive to reach for us humans.
Eelume is a spin-off company out of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) which collaborated with oil and gas company Statoil and Norway's Kongsberg Maritime in developing the robot. The latter seems to have some affinity for underwater beasts, having operated the robot that captured the Sherlock Holmes movie model of the Loch Ness monster last week.
Its latest machine was developed to carry out maintenance tasks on the seabed. The agile robot is designed to slither in and around underwater rigs, cleaning, performing visual inspections and even attaching itself to certain components to adjust valves.
It is hoped that the Eelume robot can carry much of the workload for those performing subsea inspections, reducing the need for large and costly vessels. The developers say it can be installed permanently on existing and new underwater machinery to serve as a "self-going janitor on the seabed." Whatever role the robot does end up playing, we're perfectly happy for Eelume to remain underwater.
You can see the robot swimming around in the videos below, the first without thrusters and the second with.
Source: Kongsberg Maritime