Sarcos conducts field trials for shipyard inspection and repair robots

Sarcos Technology and Robotics Corporation (Sarcos), a developer of robotic systems to assist human productivity, claims to have conducted field trials that demonstrated improved worker safety and productivity for shipyard operations.

Sarcos robotic systems designs solutions to carry out maintenance, inspection and repair activities.

In September, the company reportedly completed a successful field trial for the US Navy, both on the ground and at height, using several of its solutions, including the Guardian DX teleoperated dexterous robot for defence, the Sapien 6M robot, the Sapien Sea Class underwater robot and the Guardian S remote visual inspection robot.

One of Sarcos’ key design motivations is the reduction of employee injuries and improved efficiency and productivity, with the company putting a particular emphasis on use cases in dynamic environments, such as shipyards.

Some of the key shipyard applications which Sarcos claims it can support include teleoperating and safely using tools aboard a ship or pier side. The systems developer points to the Sapien 6M or Guardian DX for such tasks, as these bots can be mounted to a mobile lift platform to perform visual inspections, remove paint and rust, laser ablation and make repairs with cold spray.

What’s more, the Sapien Sea Class underwater robot, which Sarcos says is integrated with a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV), is designed for both shallow and deep underwater use up to one kilometre (0.62 miles) and can reportedly perform inspections on a ship’s hull, propeller shaft and propeller shaft tube. According to its manufacturer, it can also be tasked with recovering objects from the hull.

Another solution, the Guardian S visual inspection robot, was developed to traverse ferromagnetic vertical surfaces and reach confined spaces, with Sarcos suggesting it is appropriate for recovery tasks both inside and outside a ship.

“Working at height in dynamic environments, such as shipyards, is extremely dangerous work,” said Kiva Allgood, president and CEO, Sarcos.

“Sarcos’ portfolio of teleoperated robots improves shipyard operations by solving critical pain points including human resource constraints, productivity and safety.”

Janice Bryant, expeditionary and sustainment technology manager at Naval Sea Systems Command, said: “It is imperative for the US Navy to find solutions that will enable us to maintain mission-readiness, particularly while at sea.

“The technologies demonstrated…ship inspection, sustainment and repair using teleoperated at-height capabilities will have a significant benefit to increase navy readiness.

“We look forward to continuing our work with solution providers to rapidly field for effect.”