This unique 'robot Snake' can repair pipes at sea level

Now, underwater drones and robots are being developed that can make work safer, cheaper and less polluting.


The deep-sea oil and gas industry has huge and expensive infrastructure to maintain. Wells, other equipment, and thousands of miles of pipeline must be installed, inspected, and repaired.

Among them is Eelume, a 20-foot-long [6 m] snake that resembles a snake with a sensor and a camera at each end. It can be stored at the port at a depth of up to 500 meters (547 meters) for six months, without further overhaul.

A self-propelled robot can travel up to 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) before having to return to its base to rebuild. It can also change parts of a variety of functions, including tools for using seawater valves, and cleaning brushes to remove seaweed and carcasses.

Repairs to deep water sources and pipelines have already been carried out by unmanned vehicles. However, these vehicles usually need to be transported to the coast by a fully loaded ship and then driven away to be transferred to the upper deck. That could cost up to $ 100,000 a day, according to Pål Liljebäck, chief technology officer at Eelume Subsea Intervention, who built the robot.

Based in Trondheim, Norway, the company was fired from Norway University of Science and Technology. Liljebäck states that "by enabling the robot to become an underwater citizen living in a port, it can be encouraged at any time to conduct tests and interventions, thus reducing the need for more expensive vessels."

Eelume can work independently on tasks assigned to the ocean control room, and restore video and data. Its snake-like design allows it to operate in confined spaces and to move its body in a stable position. By standing under the sea, any conditions on the surface of the sea can be spread.

Undersea Transformation

The global underwater robots market is expected to cost about $ 7 billion by 2025, according to analysts, and other companies are in the process of selling new drone technology and robotic technology.

Saipem (SAPMY), an Italian company that provides oil, energy and infrastructure services, has developed an underwater Hydrone-R, which can draw up to 3,000 meters of construction and repair work. The US launch of Houston Mechatronics has developed the Aquanaut, a submarine robotic vehicle that can be used remotely or independently, while the Swedish Saab Seaeye Falcon is already being used to test Chile's fish farms.

Norwegian oil company Equinor was the first investor in Eelume. "It will reduce our costs by using a cheaper way to take care of repairs and repairs.

The oil and gas industries have a major impact on climate change, and in-depth exploration of water can damage marine ecosystems. But Atle says Eelume could have environmental benefits. "Diesel-fired ships emit more CO2 but robots, like Eelume, do not emit anything."

Eelume Subsea Intervention and Equinor will conduct a final test at sea level later this year at gsgard field and gas field. Eelume says he expects to use his first snake robots next year and hopes to reach 2027 at about 50 oceans worldwide.