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This sea snake bot looks like it escaped from a sci-fi nightmare, but it’s actually here to help

Eelume - Reshaping Underwater Operations
The tagline to 1978’s Jaws 2 is, “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water!”

It’s a strapline that could equally be adopted by the makers of Eelume, a snake-like robot designed to live underwater and repair undersea infrastructure, such as pipelines and oil rigs. And, no doubt, to terrify the occasional diver, too!

Having last year released footage of the Eelume robot avoiding obstacles in a testing tank, its creators have now unleashed new footage showing it being put through its paces in its first ocean trials in Trondheimsfjorden, Norway’s third-longest fjord, stretching a massive 130 kilometers.

“This video shows the world’s first underwater snake-like robot,” Arne Kjørsvik, CEO of Eelume AS, told Digital Trends. “We have demonstrated the robot down as far as 150 meters below water here in Trondheimsfjorden in Norway, in a test facility close to our headquarters. In the video, you can see how easily this vehicle maneuvers around structures and enters constrained areas.”

Currently Eelume is remote-controlled, although Kjørsvik said that the plan is next to implement autonomous capabilities so that it can essentially look after itself. To charge itself, the robot will use an underwater base station that it can return to between missions. “Eelume will ensure that that no surface vessel will be needed to do inspection, maintenance and repair tasks in the oil and gas industry,” Kjørsvik continued.

It’s not quite ready for prime time just yet, though.

“Our robot is at development stage at the moment, and it is not currently on the market,” Kjørsvik said. “Stay tuned to our website for more information about our current development status as we continue our development.”

In other words, you’ve got a few more months before the sea starts to get filled up with autonomous deep sea snake robots. Enjoy your beach time while you can!

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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