Armach Robotics said on Tuesday that it had reached a major milestone by successfully operating its chassis cleaning robot in over-the-horizon (OTH) mode.
In the waters in Norfolk, Virginia, Armach’s hull service robot was monitored and controlled earlier this month by employees at Armach’s command center in Plymouth, Massachusetts, using a 4G modem that provides over-the-air communication.
Once the communications connection was made between Norfolk and Plymouth, the car was able to complete pre-dive checks on the dock. This involved full system checks with commands being sent from Armach’s home office, roughly 600 miles away.
Cody Perris, Armach’s operations manager said, “After verifying the ability to successfully control the OTH vehicle from dock safety, confidence levels were high enough to proceed with additional testing in the water.”
The vehicle was launched in the harbor and launched. The Plymouth-based operator was able to pilot the vehicle from the launch point at the dock, and make a controlled approach from the side of the ship. Once there, he was able to successfully attach himself, travel along the side of the ship, and perform a protocol Cleaning a short test.
Peiris adds: “We continue to benefit from Greensea’s OPENSEA open architecture control software, integrated with HSR’s Armach On-Hull navigation solution. [Hull Service Robot’s] Countless sensors, providing powerful vehicle control.
“We also learned that Greensea’s Safe C2, a remote operations solution also part of the OPENSEA suite, has already proven operationally viable for conducting advanced intervention missions with ROVs. Bringing the two together in our vehicle, which has different requirements than a more conventional ROV It’s an important milestone.”
The HSR recognizes objects in its path and independently navigates around them
During this experiment, it was shown how the HSR system could recognize objects in a planned transit path, navigate autonomously around those objects, and return to the originally planned path of operation—also referred to as an obstacle detection and avoidance maneuver.
John Dunn, Armach’s VP of Operations and pilot of this first OTH flight adds, “Flying the vehicle from Plymouth and landing on the BB64 was an exhilarating experience, reaching another milestone on our technology roadmap.
“We were absolutely cruising around in Plymouth. The technology to do this isn’t new or even new to the market, however, integrating it into our platform, while our collegiate teams continue to develop and iterate on our technical offering, was still a huge lift. My hats off to the software, hardware and operations teams for pulling this off. ball together and moving the ball through this already busy process.”
The demo completes another major milestone in Armach’s roadmap for its full technical offering. The state of the future will include micro-robot systems capable of automatically launching, cleaning and recovering, all while supervising remotely from Armach’s Plymouth, Massachusetts headquarters.
These units, in addition to installation in port infrastructure, can be resident on ships of all classes and are available to perform hull cleaning maintenance to suit the vessel’s schedule on a global basis.
The ability to offer independent cleaning that is effective on microfouling means that the cleaning process can be done in short time frames, and does not affect the time spent on the vessels, says Armash.
Key to Armach’s proposal is that the system introduced a previously unsurpassed level of ‘Hull Intelligence’, effectively creating a hull condition scan every time the hull is cleaned. This allows owners to understand the condition of their hull in ‘real time’ and make decisions that will save Time and money. This milestone will allow Armach to build, develop and iterate on robotics platforms, and prove that the technology and model work in the real world.”
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