Watch: Marine robot launches itself with bottle of champagne

University of Limerick unveiled a €2 million underwater robot at the docks in Limerick city today.

The robot, Étaín, launched itself by opening a bottle of champagne and pouring the contents over itself in front of a crowd of onlookers.

The Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) can operate in challenging wind, wave, and tidal conditions and will be used to inspect, repair and maintain Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) facilities.

Researchers at the University of Limerick (UL) Centre for Robotics and Intelligence Systems have enhanced a commercially available ROV system (Forum Energy Technology’s Comanche ROV) with UL-developed advanced control software (OceanRings), precision navigation and flight control, state-of-the-art robotic imaging and sonar systems and fully automated manipulator systems.

These advanced features allow the robot to operate in the challenging environment of ocean renewable energy to support inspection, repair and maintenance operations.

"Operation support in the MRE sector usually occurs on floating infrastructures so conditions are regularly beyond the capability and operating limits of commercial ROV technology," explained Professor Daniel Toal, Director of the Centre for Robotics and Intelligence Systems at UL.

"This means new smart ROV systems capability is necessary and that is what our team at UL has developed and launched today."

 

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