Argeo Taps Eelume 'Snake Robot' for Autonomous Underwater Inspection
Argeo AS selected Eelume’s autonomous ‘snake robot’ to assist in its operations, the first commercial contract for this new tech which was developed with the assistance of Kongsberg Maritime, a majority shareholder in the venture.
“We believe that this is just the beginning of a major shift in how the industry conducts underwater operations. There is a need in the market for this type of solution, and we anticipate a significant requirement for more robots of this type in the long term,” says Trond Crantz, CEO, Argeo. “In addition to lowering carbon footprint and increasing efficiency, Eelume technology will enable Argeo to significantly reduce the costs related to inspection, light intervention and monitoring (IMR) of subsea assets and infrastructure. Currently, 90% of these costs are vessel-related. Implementing Eelume as a resident inspection tool for Offshore Wind and Oil & Gas will replace up to 70% of vessel activities.”
Kongsberg has been involved in Eelume since the company was founded in 2015, bringing nearly 30 years of experience from its HUGIN AUV to the development of the Eelume snake robot.
“After many years of focused research and development by an incredibly strong team at Eelume AS, the time has come to enter into commercial contracts for autonomous Eelume vessels,” says Thomas Nygaard, SVP Marine Robotics, Kongsberg Maritime. “It is very gratifying that we have been able to so quickly agree this, our first commercial contract, for delivery to Argeo AS. The combination of Eelume with Argeo technology promises to be a disruptive force for many applications in the ocean space.”
Within offshore energy, there is a growing demand for autonomous underwater robots which can perform tasks with minimal human intervention on site, reducing costs and emissions while increasing safety by allowing personnel to stay on land. Eelume aims to become a leading player in this market, developing autonomous underwater robots with unique properties for different types of missions. “We are very pleased with this sale of our underwater snake robot to Argeo,” said Morten Bjerkholt, CEO, Eelume. “Argeo’s plan to offer inspection and mapping assignments based on autonomous submarine robots suits us perfectly and shows that our unique technology, using the snake robot as a carrier of sensory technology to carry out autonomous inspection assignments, meets a customer need. We look forward to further collaboration with Argeo, where we will also look at opportunities to integrate specific sensors from Argeo in separate modules of the robot.”
In operation, one Eelume robot can typically provide a serviceable footprint of 50-75 km2. Argeo propose matching the technology with itsUnmanned Surface Vessels (USV), making the Eelume an effective mobile survey solution complete with deployment and recovery system. “Argeo’s uniqueness comes from patenting and developing advanced sensors and analytical tools that integrate straight into robotics platforms such as the Eelume robot,” says Crantz. “This uniqueness, coupled with disruptive robotics solutions, allows us to solve costly everyday problems for large and existing clients worldwide. We are very excited to start this journey and to continue our collaboration with Eelume and Kongsberg to transform the IMR industry.”