Russian Underwater Drone With Manipulator Arm For Seabed Operations
A single underwater floodlight filters through the water. Like a one-armed Cyclopes, a metal manipulator arm emerges from the murk, kicking up sand as it probes the seabed. On its nose, a small Russian flag lays claim to the item between its pincers.
Manipulator arms, with claws which can grab or move items on the seafloor, are commonly associated with remote operated vehicles (ROVs) and crewed submarines. But Russia has developed an AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) with one.
This is one of the more interesting underwater vehicles developed in Russia, the LI AUV (Intervention autonomous uninhabited underwater vehicle).
This unusual AUV is built by Okeanos in St. Petersburg. The project was developed with input from St. Petersburg State Marine Technical University and SPbGMTU. It was tested in 2019.
Few details are available. The vehicle is quite small, but the technology was scalable to larger platforms. Essentially similar arms were fitted to remote operated vehicles also.
As an intervention AUV it would typically be used from a mother ship ('host vessel'). It could conceivably be based on the sea floor using underwater charging complexes. The recharging would be contactless.
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