Cargill and Safetytech Accelerator complete robotic hull cleaning pilot

Safetytech Accelerator reports that it has recently completed a pilot with Cargill to explore the use of robotic hull cleaning technologies.

The chosen system was selected as part of Safetytech Accelerator’s Waypoint programme, with six companies shortlisted to pitch their technologies. Alicia Bots, a US start-up, was eventually selected for its underwater Roverclean technology, designed to inspect and clean hulls whilst a ship is in motion. 

The pilot project was carried out on two bulk carriers chartered by Cargill, as they sailed between Singapore, Panama and the US over a period of five months. A Roverclean device was deployed on both vessels.

The Roverclean units feature 4 magnetic wheels for adhesion, a cable for power and video transmission, and cleaning brushes at the front and rear. Four single view cameras and a 360° camera are attached for video capture, with an in-built sonar unit also included.

During the pilot, the system demonstrated the ability to inspect 100 metres from midship to forward in 45 minutes, detect heavy barnacle fouling, and highlight previous hull damage using the sonar. 11 knots was found to be the ideal speed for cleaning based on the tests.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to have participated in these pilots and are pleased with the outcomes,” said Chris Hughes, Decarbonisation Specialist at Cargill.

“The Safetytech Accelerator Waypoint programme provides a platform from which the process of finding and piloting promising new tech is much simpler for us as a user; the effort and timescales were significantly reduced compared to doing it alone.”

“The Alicia Bots team have been great to work with: capable, agile and innovative. We have learnt a lot from this project, and we are continuing to work together and to use their solution.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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