Verlume develops power systems for underwater inspection robots

Overseas staff

ABERDEEN, UNITED KINGDOM – Verlume provided an update on the development of RoboFish, an autonomous underwater robot designed to move like a fish for inspection tasks at sea.

The “biomimetic” Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), named RoboFish, includes various modules with a self-managing battery and actuator for autonomous, full-body movement around underwater structures.

Researchers from the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of York and the Department of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Marine Engineering at the University of Strathclyde designed the initial system, with support from the EPSRC Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy Hub.

According to Verlume, the limited accessibility, maneuverability and environmental impact of ROVs and some larger AUVs make inspecting underwater structures complex, expensive and dependent on human intervention.

As offshore wind developments drive rapid growth in offshore structures, robotic offshore inspections in harsh environments will need to become more autonomous and cost effective, the company added.

The initial RoboFish research consortium included Verlume, the two universities, PicSea, the Supergen ORE hub and the offshore renewable energy catapult and the membership is growing.

The first prototype was completed in the summer of 2020 and work continues on improvements and new applications.

Verlume is developing an intelligent power system for charging RoboFish and an intelligent battery management system, both designed for reliable and uninterrupted power supply on the seabed.