Subsea Robot Builder Nauticus Begins Commissioning Tetherless ROV

Nauticus AUV ROV
Courtesy Nauticus Robotics

Published Apr 13, 2023 2:58 PM by The Maritime Executive

Autonomous subsea robot developer Nauticus has begun commissioning a new model of its untethered, arm-equipped AUV/ROV, dubbed the Mark 2. 

There are more than a few companies developing subsea robots for survey & intervention, but Nauticus' differentiating factor is the ability of its systems to conduct longer-range surveys (like an AUV) or deploy twin work-class manipulator arms from within its shell to perform manual tasks (like an ROV). This dual-function capability can't be found elsewhere, and it's attracted interest from the oil and gas industry, according to Nauticus. 

"The delivery of our initial second-generation Aquanauts is a significant milestone that accelerates our mission to disrupt the offshore ocean services industry while setting a benchmark for next-generation subsea technology that will fundamentally revolutionize how the industry operates,” said Nicolaus Radford, founder and CEO of Nauticus. 

The firm plans to deliver two more Aquanauts by mid-year, and the units are already under commitment for projects, according to Radford.

In pursuit of growth in offshore oil and gas, the company recently opened operating bases in Aberdeen and Stavanger, the primary hubs for the North Sea market. As a sign of industry interest, offshore drilling leader Transocean is Nauticus' largest shareholder, and oil major Shell has conducted demonstration trials with the firm's systems.

Nauticus also holds a contract with the Pentagon's Defense Innovation Unit to develop an amphibious unmanned system using the same autonomous control platform used for Aquanaut, ToolKITT. The control system is also used by the U.S. Navy's Defender Mission Specialist, the service's man-portable ROV of choice; the system uses machine learning to detect, identify and neutralize underwater hazards on its own.