Underwater Magnetic Tracked AUV for Steel Ship Hull Inspections
Underwater pipeline workers have magnetic devices they can use as handles to keep them in place, even tie themselves off while they work. This means they don’t have to worry about the prevailing tide pushing them out of the way, or making their life tough as they try to stay in position to do their underwater welding 48V magnetic track lights or inspections. In the case of working on a barge or ship with a steel hull, these types of devices are also quite prevalent as a safety tool.
Now then, I propose another device for use with autonomous underwater vehicles or AUV’s. I propose a small robotic tracked vehicle, one with tracks on both sides whereby there were magnets in the tracks. As the track came around the corner on its spindle it would turn the magnet the other way, allowing the vehicle to move forward or back quickly with less power expended. The track could then run along pipelines in that 3-D environment upside down or right side up, or along a ship hull upside down while in the water, or even out of the water with more powerful magnets.
The magnets would be rubber coated within the track itself preventing scratching or marring of the paint coating. On the vehicle would be a small telescopic pole upon that platform with lights of various frequencies of blue and blue-green, underwater video cameras, and perhaps robotic arms, or even cleaning tools. This robotic device could clean the underside of a ship hull while also inspecting it. It could work in low visibility water because it would be very close to surface, and it could either send a video feed, or perhaps work completely autonomously as needed.
Currently, I am told that there are underwater barge cleaning units that use a magnet process to motivate along the bottom. My concept would be similar, but it would provide for more functionality, and solve a whole lot of problems that underwater diving inspectors and workers currently experience in the industry, and improve diver safety by not asking the diver to go into the water in the first place, rather sending a robotic system instead. How hard would this be to build?