New Spider Optics System Lets Robot Mini-Subs Go Solo
Wandering the briny depths can be heaps of fun, especially when you’ve got a robot to control and swim around with. Unfortunately such machines are often hindered by power cables that limit their performance. In a bid to improve the state of the art, Hawkes Remotes is developing a wireless ROV that could transform ocean exploration as we know it.
Here’s what Hawkes remotes CEO Jonathan Epstein has to say about why his company is pursuing new tech:
“The problem is, dragging cable through water is an ineffective way to go fast and far. These things are attached to power sources, they’re like building an electric car or an electric bike or electric plane with a large extension cord. And this is a large extension cord in a medium that is 850 times as dense as air, so it creates a huge amount of drag… and that creates a loss of range, of speed, and it makes it pretty difficult to maneuver. The result is that most ROVs can only free swim, from their point of tether origin, about 500 meters.”
To answer these challenges, Hawkes remotes has developed the Spider Optic System, itself a combination of technologies developed by Saab and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The end result is an ROV that discharged a silky millimeters thick fiber optic cable as it moves underwater, like an aquatic spider. While it’s still remote controlled, the power line is now far less clunkier.
What this translates to is a far more affordable investment in ROVs. We think this is pretty brilliant.