The US Navy is set to introduce an autonomous hull-grooming robot, the bio-inspired underwater grooming tool (BUG) to clean the hulls of navy ships.
The BUG moves around the underwater portion of a ship’s hull with an onboard biofilm detector that senses and removes marine biofilm and organisms, including barnacles, oysters and algae.
The tool is being heralded as a major fuel saver as it could take over from the shipping boats that currently spend a lot of time in the water cleaning boats, hull maintenace is estimated to cost the US Navy in the region of $500m each year.
BUG has been successful in field tests with navy sailors and is about to be launched for the navy as well as for commercial shipping.
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SeaRobotics president Don Darling said that basically any boat over 45ft, which is in the water all the time, can benefit from this kind of technology.