The options that explorers and researchers have are increasing with the development of a special robot modeled after an octopus. Called PoseiDrone, this tool uses articulated limbs and a malleable body to navigate tight spaces underwater. If its use takes off, ROV insurance will need to account for this new development.
PoseiDrone's applications and special features are outlined in a summary statement from the company developing this drone. The project uses softer materials in its construction that enable the device to get closer to wreckage and dangerous structures, as opposed to most current ROV devices.
This statement lists some of the possible uses of the octopus drone, which has special relevance to teams that operate in dangerous areas like energy plants.
"The high degree of compliance and low risk of damage from impact offers the chance to deal with maintenance or construction tasks by adhering to a structure, rather than working detached from it, thus relieving the control from the need to manage the contact, the grip-loss problem as well as the risk of unexpected collisions," the site reads.
Nearly 90 percent of the robot's body will be made out of a flexible substance (76 percent of it being "soft elastomeric rubber") and will contain three different connected units to help it move in a coordinated fashion.
PoseiDrone itself is a subset of the larger European OCTOPUS IP initiative. OCTOPUS has received support from a group of six different institutes and universities from Israel, Italy, Switzerland Greece and the United Kingdom.
Not only does this effort represent a special focus on remote vehicle design, it shows a model type that will need to be accounted for with future marine insurance.