PG students have created an underwater robot

Michal Holubowski

Gdansk University of Technology students Marcin Skibowski and Robert Przystalski designed and built a prototype of the STIUART underwater inspection robot as part of their thesis. The remotely operated vehicle has a video transmission function, thanks to a camera installed in it. The project was carried out with financial support from Enamor and was seen as part of the exhibition accompanying the Maritime Economy Forum in Gdynia.

The mobile underwater inspection robot, made by seminarists of Dr. Jaroslaw Guzinski, solves the problem of automating the inspection of underwater electrical power installations, ship hulls, with special attention to underwater parts of propulsion equipment and measurement sensors installed in the hull of the vessel. The robot is controlled by a computer and a dedicated operator application, which allows viewing the actual camera image online. The robot has a number of sensors designed to diagnose the airtightness of various parts of the hull.

STIUART allows for inspections of underwater HVDC transmission cables, offshore wind farms, hydrotechnical components of tidal power plants, or pumped storage reservoirs. Inspections of this type are performed periodically due to the possibility of damage to hard-to-reach parts beyond the access of operators. Often the inspection itself also involves determining the extent of naturally occurring plant-animal growth on the hull, as well as for assessing the condition of outboard equipment. Currently, divers are used for this purpose, carrying out inspections while ships are at berth. The use of ROVs for inspections of this type reduces the cost of inspections and reduces the danger that arises when investigating the causes and consequences of maritime collisions.

The size and weight of the entire kit, which includes the robot, battery, drum with fiber-optic cable and charger, allows the device to be taken on board a plane as standard airline baggage. The making of the prototype, which Marcin Skibowski and Robert Przystalski created as part of their thesis, was made possible thanks to financial support from Enamor, which cooperates with Gdynia Maritime Academy and Gdansk University of Technology in its research and development activities.