Mitigating deep-sea exploration risks

Engineer Live News Desk
Saab has developed the world's first work-class all-electric ROV (eWROV).

Historically, commercial divers have taken great risks to inspect oil and gas pipelines, high-voltage electrical cables, wind turbines and other critical infrastructure deep undersea. Saab has eliminated that risk bringing deep-sea exploration expertise to commercial underwater applications.

With a mission to keep people and society safe, the Seaeye range of ROVs has been developed with more agile and modular systems designs. Saab UK’s Seaeye systems are capable of performing a wide range of tasks from observation and inspection to more complex functions like underwater maintenance.

This evolution has culminated in the development of the world's most advanced all-electric work-class ROV (eWROV), which combines versatility and maneuverability. Unlike traditional hydraulic ROVs, the eWROV eliminates the need for large amounts of hydraulic fluid, thereby mitigating environmental risks.

High-density modular power achieves a compact scalable design

Critical specifications for the eWROV’s power converter are size, mass and thermal dissipation, given that the electronic systems are housed in sealed enclosures where space is at a premium and conventional convection cooling is not possible.

To meet these requirements, Saab chose Vicor power modules for their high density and efficiency. These modules enable efficient power distribution to various eWROV subsystems such as thrusters, manipulators and onboard electronics. The use of Vicor power modules allows Saab to customise Seaeye subsystems according to specific industry-standard 24V and 48V levels required by onboard computers, sensors, video cameras, lights and navigation equipment. The compact power design frees up space within the eWROV, enabling the integration of additional electronics and improving overall performance and data transmission speeds.

The eWROV design solves the challenges of heat dissipation, providing immense payload and reducing the size and weight of electronics. Using high voltage DC power enables a significant reduction in tether size and weight, while still delivering performance equivalent to a 250-HP undersea hydraulic vehicle. Unlike traditional hydraulic ROVs, the eWROV all-electric system eliminates the need for large volumes of hydraulic fluid and is more efficient, thereby reducing environmental impact and risks.

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