SeaRobotics Corporation has delivered the first HullBUG (Hull Bio-inspired Underwater Grooming) System to the Center for Corrosion and Biofouling Control at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne. This is in support of their newly commissioned Large-Scale Seawater Facility for HullBUG Development funded by the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Research (ONR).
The HullBUG System is an autonomous underwater vehicle designed to crawl on ship hulls or other underwater structures and "proactively groom" the surface. Developed by SeaRobotics and funded by ONR, this highly automated proactive grooming (or light cleaning) process will revolutionize hull maintenance, allowing ship hulls to remain in a clean state at all times. The benefits of improved hull condition are dramatic—the estimated 5% improvement in fuel efficiency achieved through proactive grooming translates into a savings of $15 billion per year for the shipping industry worldwide as well as reduction in the 1 billion tons of greenhouse gases emitted by the fleet.
"The financial benefits to the commercial shipping industry of HullBUG-enabled proactive grooming are enormous. Equally impressive are the associated environmental benefits derived from the operations with improved hull efficiency," stated Don Darling, President of SeaRobotics.
HullBUG is a small autonomous vehicle weighing 30 to 40 kg that attaches to the hull and performs a gentle cleaning function, or grooming. Numerous embedded computers perform navigation and sensing tasks to allow the grooming of the majority of the ship hull. Its ability to be attached to ferrous, non-ferrous, and fiberglass hulls and to deploy various sensors makes the HullBUG the best choice to overcome the numerous challenges involved in inspection and grooming. Opportunities in commercial shipping, oil and gas, nuclear, and conventional power generation markets are under discussion.
SeaRobotics specializes in small, smart vehicles that are remotely or autonomously operated. Its clients include major military and commercial organizations, both U.S. and foreign. SeaRobotics' marine survey software interfaces with most data acquisition hardware, software, and sensing systems to produce multi-spectral, DGPS-stamped data for survey, research, or surveillance efforts. Applications for SeaRobotics vehicles range from hull grooming and inspection to bathymetric and hydrographic surveys to coastal, harbor, and riverine surveillance. Many SeaRobotics vehicles are small, modular, and man-portable, allowing for rapid deployment in remote areas.
For more information on SeaRobotics or the HullBUG, visit www.searobotics.com or call the main office at (561) 627-2676.