Aquabotix, AUV, bridge, coastal, dam, damage, fisheries, Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, networked cameras, NOAA, ROV, Sea Technology magazine, shipwreck, submerged footing, subsea technology, underwater drone, USCG
Aquabotix is an underwater robotics company that makes underwater drones called autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs), as well as networked underwater cameras. The company has issued a statement that this kind of equipment could be useful for surveying underwater damage to infrastructure at ports, offshore drilling rigs and various submerged coastal structures.
They are launching a new initiative to form relationships with specialist distributors in Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, local and state governments, the U.S. Coast Guard and oil and gas industries to see if their tools can be helpful in recovery.
Underwater cameras and drones can be remotely operated or sent with pre-programmed instructions to follow autonomously, without humans driving. They could be useful for examining damaged infrastructure. NOAA has used ROVs to survey fisheries and, with the U.S. Coast Guard to survey the wreckage of USCG Cutter McCulloch. ROVs can be useful for inspecting not only ships sitting on the seabed but submerged bridge footings, damaged dams and more informed planning of new construction in changed coastal environments.
It will be interesting to see what other uses are found for high-tech underwater surveying equipment in the face of a long road to recovery for the Gulf Coast as cities and companies seek to rebuild infrastructure.
As Aquabotix points out, reconstruction will “involve substantial underwater work,” bringing companies like theirs, that specialize in subsea technologies, into the limelight in the aftermath of destructive storms along the coasts.