Underwater vehicles from Nido Robotics perform inspection, rescue and data collection tasks in impossible corners for industrial models. And for less money.
In 2012 I was participating in an intervention in Papua New Guinea. We were looking for a plane, “recalls Roy Torgersen, the executive director of Nido Robotics is captain of the merchant marine, and in that profession, which has taken him all over the world, the mini-yellow and white submarines that are now the flagships of the startup: Sibiu Pro and Sibiu Nano
Who are we talking about?
“We found some debris and we were working on locating a small plaque bearing the identification of that plane,” he continues. The task does not seem complicated if you ignore the 95 meters deep, the visibility “practically zero” and the crocodiles and sharks that prowled the area. “It was crazy, but it was crazy, and it was not very efficient,” Torgersen admits. “In the boats that I had been working on, there were underwater robots, but they were giant devices, designed for the oil industry and worth millions of euros.”
Solution: that in a small version and with low cost.
How does it work?
The white and yellow skeletons of Sibiu Pro and its smaller brother, Sibiu Nano, hide everything necessary to navigate through narrow spaces and collect information during the journey. The small one is thought for calm waters, ports, deposits and zones where there is not much current. In addition, it can descend to 100 meters. Sibiu Pro reaches 300 meters and, due to its larger dimensions, it has room to integrate other accessories such as environmental sensors or robotic arms.
Both models share a basic function. “They carry a high definition camera whose signal is sent through the cable to a unit on the surface and allows to see in real time what is being recorded,” explains Torgersen.
The navigation cannot be simpler, the controls of a conventional video game controller are enough for the propellers of these robots to follow the marked course. And these facilities extend to maintenance tasks. “In addition, we believe in freedom and we give people not only the devices but all the necessary tools to be an efficient operator Documentation, video maintenance tutorials … For us, force the customer to be constantly using the company is a bad sign, the good thing is that the client buys and we do not know anything about him, “says Torgersen.
Why are we interested?
The main applications of Sibius are focused on the development of inspection, rescue, search and data collection work, at prices that were previously impossible in traditional aquatic robotics. “We have been working with the scientific community, in thermal generation plants that have pipes that take water from the sea and then expel it, desalination plants, urban waste treatment plants …”, says Torgersen.
In the roadmap of Nido for the next few years are developing a kind of tight suitcase to work in rainy conditions, a device that allows you to manipulate objects under water, a larger robot for sectors such as the tanker and the design of robots without cable that makes possible a more autonomous data collection. All without losing sight of the price. “It is working on very interesting things, what happens is that current applications, because of the amount of research and work that is invested in these devices, are not available to everyone.” Sibiu Pro with a cable of 100 meters would cost 7,000 euros, Nano would be around 2,000. Currently, an “affordable” autonomous torpedo reaches 100,000 euros.
Source: Etina El Pais