As the world’s largest manufacturer of electric underwater robotic vehicles, Saab Seaeye Ltd has showcased pioneering technologies for more than 30 years, and has introduced underwater robotics into many sectors including marine science, offshore energy, defence and superyachts. Saab Seaeye’s latest innovation is an intelligent electric manipulator arm with precision manoeuvrability and gripping, which will be fitted to larger robotic vehicles.
According to Matt Bates, Director at Saab Seaeye Ltd., the new emerging trends from client requests at present are in direct response to developments in artificial intelligence and satellite communications, which are enabling remote control of robotics across the globe. “Ever smarter intuitive robotics is introducing greater autonomy in undersea operations,” began Bates.
The Falcon by Saab Seaeye has been deemed the most successful underwater electric robotic system of its class. “Across all industry sectors, including superyachts, the Falcon is the biggest selling electric underwater robotic vehicle of its class in the world, coming from a proven design that has been technologically enhanced for over 20 years,” explained Bates.
“Success comes from a concept that can pack a host of cameras and technology into a vehicle just 1-metre long, powered by five muscular thrusters and intelligent control robotics, that can swim down 1000 metres deep and manoeuvre precisely in strong cross-currents,” he continued.
As well as being used in numerous intricate and demanding missions across many commercial, security and scientific sectors, the product equally popular with superyacht owners who wish to enjoy the product for different purposes. “Superyacht owners value a single resource with many uses. The Falcon is a versatile robot that can explore the undersea world, buddy divers, secure the vessel and be a general underwater workhorse,” outlined Bates.
“Superyacht owners value a single resource with many uses. The Falcon is a versatile robot that can explore the undersea world, buddy divers, secure the vessel and be a general underwater workhorse,” - Matt Bates, Director - Saab Seaeye Ltd.
There are many beneficial uses of this product for owners. From the stateroom, an owner can explore the sea beneath in high definition video, or divers can venture below more safely when watched over by the Falcon. Dive sites can be examined before a dive, and items can be transported back and forth during a dive. “The yacht’s hull can also be checked any time for attached devices, maintenance inspection can be more routinely undertaken, and lost items can be recovered from the seabed,” said Bates.
The challenge for the Saab Seaeye team was to create a vehicle like no other - a small, powerful, multi-tasking, easy to use vehicle, with a revolutionary new idea – intelligence.
“It is a concept that has remained unbeaten for over 20 years,” emphasised Bates. “A key breakthrough was its distributed intelligent control which uniquely gave each device on the Falcon its own individually controlled microprocessor. This made the vehicle smaller and lighter, and, for the first time, cameras, tools and sensors could be easily added or changed.”
Today, as part of its evolutionary journey, the Falcon is enhanced with Saab Seaeye’s revolutionary future-flexible iCON™ behaviour-based common technology ecosystem of intelligent configurable hardware and software modules.
Within the next five years, Saab Seaeye believes that activity in the underwater world is set to grow. “Leisure, scientific research, energy resources and defence operations are expanding and will benefit from continuing advances in robotic technology that are making systems smarter, more powerful and more capable of long-distance control,” concluded Bates.
With further developments in areas such as artificial intelligence, small powerful batteries and below water communication systems, Saab Seaeye looks forward to the ever-expanding potential for autonomous robotic operations.
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