Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Hullbot

Robots clean the hull of boats with underwater drones


The regular cleaning improves fuel economy and reduces environmental toxins

Spotted: Researchers investigating ways to reduce the carbon footprint of the industrial shipping industry found that a regular maintenance schedule for ships represents a “promising measure” for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Indeed, it’s estimated that cargo ships with significant amounts of fouling on their hulls experience a 50 per cent reduction in fuel economy. Cleaning hulls and motors regularly also helps minimise the spread of invasive species and can reduce the use of toxins painted onto the ship to slow the growth of algae and other marine life.  

Sydney-based Hullbot is using robotics to help improve the world’s marine environments. The company has built a fleet of autonomous underwater robots that map marine environments and inspect and clean ocean-going vessels. Using a patented autopilot cleaning system, the robots clean hulls beneath the surface of the water and provide a maintenance map of each vessel, making it easier to catch potential repairs before they become dangerous. For companies with expensive underwater assets, regularly scheduled, autonomous maintenance checks and cleaning could translate into substantial cost savings in the long run.  

Hullbot’s robots can live in and be deployed from internet-enabled pods that autonomously manage a project for anything from a day to a year. Such capability makes it possible to track changes in marine environments and provides scientists with near-to-real-time data on factors such as temperature and animal life. Every bot sends data back to a central dashboard for remote monitoring and long-term data tracking.

The startup is currently working with yachts in Sydney Harbour and seeks additional partners for new projects.  

From zero-emissions cruise ships to in-transit robotic hull cleaning, innovations in Springwise’s database are some examples of projects creating new ways to reduce the environmental damage of global shipping.

Written By: Keely Khoury




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