Robotic microsub emerges

Friday 2nd December 2016
Jo Johnson at the Micro-sub launch

The first robotic micro-sub capable is being used from a larger robotic boat has been on show in the Marine Autonomous and Technology Annual Showcase this November, held at the NOC (National Oceanography Centre).











The  innovative new design, led by Planet Ocean and co-developed by NOC, ASV Ltd with The University of Southampton, is around three times smaller than current AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles). Around 50cm long, their tiny size allows them to be used in ways previously not even considered. Microsubs are also able to frequently monitor infrastructures, such as pipelines for corrosion or potential leaks, in an highly cost effective manner. 

The new ecoSUBμ and larger ecoSUBm are economically and environmentally more cost efficient than their larger counterparts. Furthermore  microsubs ‘shoals’ of can work together to collectively create a far superior 3D map of the underwater environment than a single AUV can accomplish.

They can survey a large area very quickly, covering hundreds of kilometres. Paired with complementary technologies, as autonomous surface vehicles, drones and  satellites, a more complete picture of the oceanic environment can be constructed than ever before.

This new sub was developed at the new MRIC (Marine Robotics Innovation Centre) with the NOC, who have twenty years’ experience of AUV development, and Planet Ocean. Kevin Forshaw, (right)  NOC’s Associate Director, Innovation and Enterprise said “this is an example of a highly innovate new product, being rapidly brought to market due to the comprehensive support offered from the technical team within the MRIC. Product development such as this, that draws on leading thinking from NOC and the University of Southampton, will help UK PLC  make further inroads into this rapidly expanding global market."

The ecoSUB’s were unveiled during the Marine Robotics and Technology showcase, a week of events celebrating the one year anniversary of the marine robotics Innovation Centre. This soft launch comes after just one year into a two year project.  The next phase being all about testing before the product officially comes to market at Ocean Business in April 2017.

A spin out company from Planet Ocean, ecoSUB Robotics Ltd has been formed to concentrate on the development and manufacture of these innovative vehicles. Planet Ocean (Left) MD Terry Sloane commented “Having our engineers co-located within the NOC, in the new Innovation Centre, has been key to the success of this project and to the speed at which the project has progressed”.























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