Aquanaut, the underwater Transformer

Aquanaut.

Aquanaut. © Houston Mechatronics Inc.

At first glance, Aquanaut looks like a traditional unmanned mini-submarine, until its hull opens up like a Transformer, exposing two arms that fold out and a head packed full of sensors. The sleek submarine is now a half-humanoid robot, ready to get to work. Developed by startup Houston Mechatronics Inc. (HMI), staffed mainly by former NASA employees, Aquanaut’s design marks a radical departure from traditional underwater vehicles. Shaped like a submarine, it swiftly travels over long distances (up to 200 km) to its destination, where it transforms into a half-humanoid robot to accomplish complex tasks. Aquanaut has been designed primarily for servicing subsea oil and gas installations. The companies that own and operate this infrastructure spend vast sums of money to inspect and maintain it. Currently being tested in the pool that NASA astronauts use for zero-gravity training, Aquanaut should be tested at sea next month.

Aquanaut.

Aquanaut. © Houston Mechatronics Inc.

YouTube, “Meet Aquanaut, the Underwater Transformer.”

IEEE Spectrum, “Meet Aquanaut, the underwater Transformer.”

 

This entry was posted in Tech news in brief
by Laurent Gloaguen.
Share this article